It’s hard not to notice that we’re deep into pollen season, with the fine layer of yellow covering everything outdoors and the coughing, sneezing, and runny noses of those suffering from Seasonal Allergies. An estimated 36 million Americans deal with some form of Seasonal Allergies, and with hundreds of medications, home remedies, and other products available on the market all claiming to help rid you of your allergy symptoms, it’s hard to know where to start or what would even work for you. That’s where Southern Indiana ENT comes in. We’re here to help you get to the root cause of your allergy symptoms and find lasting relief.
Breathing and Seasonal Allergies
Allergies are everywhere, it seems – nuts, mold, dust, chemicals, foods and more. And many of these can set off or exacerbate lung problems like asthma and COPD. This is a widespread problem that affects many, many people.
Somewhere around 20 per cent of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies that pounce every spring under the broad description of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. For these unfortunates, the opening of Columbus, IN pollen season brings watery eyes, sniffles and sneezes. And of course, many sufferers experience stuffy noses, or copiously runny noses, or stuffy and runny noses at the same time.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be set off by outdoor allergens like tree pollen, grasses and weeds and indoor irritants including mold, pet dander and dust mites. Contact with an allergen causes the body to release chemicals that trigger swelling and inflammation in the sinus cavity, which dominoes into the watery eyes and itchy-inside-the-skull sensation that torments the pollen sensitive. In temperate and northern climate zones, seasonal allergies do stick to a season. However, in the southern regions of the US, the warmer temperatures seem to sustain pollen-induced discomfort practically year-round.
So, although avoiding exposure to allergens is effective, many people just can’t escape them. There are some medicines that can help alleviate the symptoms. Dispensed by prescription, sprays containing corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and suppress the immune response. However, they can take many days after the first dose to begin working; that’s why patients are often advised to begin taking their prescription sprays ahead of the emergence of symptoms.
Non-prescription nasal sprays containing antihistamine can also be effective, but many people find that the side effects, drowsiness and mood swings among them, are inconvenient at best, off-putting at worst.
There are prescription and non-prescription pills as well, but because of government pressure to keep the active ingredient pseudoephedrine out of the hands of criminals, they’re inconvenient to buy. And, in some cases, this active ingredient can render some serious side effects, including paranoia.
It’s possible that long-term exposure to pollens from weeds, trees and grasses can result in chronic inflammation and swelling of the sensitive sinus and nasal passage linings. Once that happens, the various drugs can be less effective. There are herbal and diet-based remedies, but because no regulatory authority investigates dubious claims, allergic consumers are left to navigate these products for themselves.
What to do? Drink lots of fluids, try to avoid exposure, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep and exercise, but don’t overdo the activity if it brings you into prolonged contact with things you know cause allergic reaction.
If you have believe you have chronically swollen airways, give Southern Indiana ENT a call (812) 376-3071. We’ll work with you to get to the bottom of your issues and provide effective treatment and lasting relief.