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Understanding Environmental allergies
These allergies are often referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. An allergic reaction is triggered in the nose when specific allergens are detected causing histamine to be released. A histamine response can make breathing difficult because it results in inflammation, swelling of the nasal membranes, nasal congestion, and reduced sinus drainage due to blockage.
Categories of allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis breaks down into two main categories, seasonal and perennial. Seasonal reactions mostly occur during seasons when pollen is prevalent. In Ohio, there are a number of common plants that cause allergic responses, especially carnations and Canadian goldenrod. Additional sources of environmental allergies are Blooming trees, weeds, and grass, which can all release pollen. While these plants are in bloom, the air is filled with much more pollen, which can cause increasing problems for allergy sufferers in the Ohio area. On the other hand, perennial allergies occur all year due to constant exposure to common allergens like, animal dander, mold, and dust mites.
The Symptoms of Hay Fever
Rhinitis can affect each person differently, but the symptoms often include similar elements, like:
- Difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
- Itchiness in the eyes, ears or throat
Dealing with the effects of perennial rhinitis can be difficult, especially for children. Suffering from constant breathing problems can lead to fatigue, which can eventually affect school performance, so it is important to limit exposure to substances that aggravate environmental allergies.
Other Causes of Rhinitis
Rhinitis is simply the inflammation of the membrane within the nose, and can be caused by a number of elements outside of naturally occurring allergens. It can be a bit more difficult to begin breathing easy again, since inflammation can be caused by things like the common cold, exposure to a chlorinated pool, or cigarette smoke. Symptoms from rhinitis can also result from a nasal blockage, changes in temperature or pressure, medications, or certain physical stimuli. When rhinitis is triggered by these things, it is called vasomotor or non-allergic rhinitis.
The Link Between Allergic Rhinitis and Sinusitis
Environmental allergens that cause rhinitis can result in chronic or recurring sinusitis. Nasal inflammation or blockage prevents the regular removal of excess mucus. The mucus clogs the sinuses causing breathing difficulties. Clogged sinuses can result in symptoms such as:
- Thick green or yellow nasal discharge
- Nasal congestion
- Facial pain
Sinusitis can affect individuals for different lengths of time, from acute 4-week periods to chronic 8-week or longer incidents.
In order to start breathing easier, you need to contact an allergist to perform skin prick or blood testing. This will let you know what allergens are the cause of your environmental allergies. You can then take steps to avoid triggering your allergies, like avoiding specific outdoor areas and animals or dust proofing your home. In addition, certain medications may be helpful, like:
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays
You may benefit from immunotherapy treatments like allergy shots, especially if medication or avoidance has been ineffective.
Stop suffering from your environmental allergies! Premier Allergy is dedicated to helping you breathe freely despite your allergies. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call to schedule your appointment today!