Allergies: A Painful Reminder of the Season
For most Americans,
the spring brings warm breezes, the summer is filled with outdoor
fun, and the fall is the perfect time for a long walk. For millions
of other Americans, however, these seasons come with a feeling of
dread. Sinus allergies— also known as hay fever and allergic
rhinitis—mean months of congestion, headache, and watery eyes
for those cursed with them. As the most common reason for chronic
nose and sinus problems, sinus allergies may begin in early childhood
and last the rest of a person’s life.
or allergic rhinitis, is defined as irritation and swelling of the
nasal passages. The symptoms of sinus allergies may be caused by
either seasonal or year-round allergens. The symptoms of sinus allergies
include the following:
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose, eyes, throat,
- Post nasal drip
- Watery eyes
- Sore throat
There are some
risk factors that cause people to be more prone to sinus allergies.
These risk factors include having a parent with sinus allergies,
a mother who smoked during pregnancy, and living in an urban setting.
Some studies have suggested that infants and children who are raised
around pets, particularly dogs, have a decreased risk for sinus
While they are
not necessarily life-threatening, sinus allergies are a serious
health issue resulting in millions of missed work days, school absenteeism,
and lowered productivity. In addition to time and productivity lost,
sinus allergies are very costly because of money spent on doctor
visits and medication. Further costs are incurred when sinus allergies
cause people to be more prone to sinus infections, colds, the flu,
and other illnesses.
The treatment of
sinus allergies focuses on easing the symptoms, as there is no known
cure for these allergic reactions. Children with sinus allergies
have the best chance of outgrowing their allergies as their immune
systems become more mature. In most cases, unfortunately, sinus
allergies will persist throughout adulthood.