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How to Treat Seasonal Allergies

It’s that time of year again – when your nose drips like a faucet, your eyes feel irritated enough to fall out of their sockets, and you can’t sleep without waking up coughing every 5 minutes…yep, it’s springtime! Learn about hay fever, its symptoms, causes, and 7 possible treatments.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD
April 10, 2014
Episode #126

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How to Treat Seasonal Allergies

During the last episode, I discussed sinusitis and how you could differentiate between a viral and a bacterial infection. Like I mentioned in that episode, I’ve been seeing a surge of patients coming in with nasal symptoms – and sometimes it’s viral, but it’s also springtime which could only mean one thing: allergy season.   

Viruses, bacteria, allergies – it can get a little overwhelming to consider all the possible causes when faced with snotty, drippy conditions. But don’t despair – I’m here to dissect those nasal passages even further this week. 

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What is Allergic Rhinitis?

The official name for seasonal allergies is allergic rhinitis. In the episode, When Is a Sinus Infection Serious? we learned that anything that ends in “-itis” means “inflammation of.” “Sinusitis” is therefore the inflammation of the sinuses. And “rhinitis” is the inflammation of the mucous lining of the nasal passages. And allergic rhinitis is the inflammation of this lining due to an allergen, or particles in the air that trigger your immune system to react. Your immune system views these allergens as foreigners and attacks, wreaking havoc in your nose, among other places.  Your immune system causes inflammatory cells to release chemicals such as “histamine,” which causes:

  • Nasal congestion

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Watery eyes

  • Itching

  • Sore throat

  • Hoarse voice

  • Postnasal drip

  • Ear pain, congestion, or popping

What Causes Allergies?

Allergies can come and go throughout life. Commonly, patients experience allergies that are seasonal (hay fever during springtime is particularly common). Some unlucky folks experience allergies all year round. 

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