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There are many factors that influence the nose-sinus area, allergy plays a major role. Allergies may produce swelling of the nasal –sinus linings leading to decreased nasal breathing and facial pressure and headaches. The resultant swelling can predispose to sinus infections, blockage of the ears with hearing loss and ear infections.
The following symptoms are associated with allergies:
- Post nasal drainage
- Sore throats
- Interference with sleeping
- Decreased effectiveness at work
Asthma may be an associated illness which is worsened by the nose-sinus allergies. In some cases of Meniere’s vertigo, allergy may be a contributing factor.
Seasonal allergic problems are typically considered hay fever in the spring and fall but perennial allergies may trigger problems throughout the year. Seasonal allergies classically are related to trees, grasses and weeds. Perennial allergies may be stimulated by molds, dust mite and pets.
Evaluation and Diagnosis
Allergy evaluation involves a thorough medical history, physical examination of the ear, nose and throat and allergy testing if appropriate. Sinus CT scan may be indicated if there is a history of sinus infection. Allergy testing is usually performed by skin testing, although blood tests are available. Read more on allergy testing.
The treatment of nasal-sinus allergy problems involves the three options of avoidance, medical therapy and allergy immunotherapy, commonly referred to as allergy shots.
- Once allergy tests have identified the offending allergies, specific avoidance measures can be recommended.
- Medical therapy may involve oral medicines and/or nasal sprays. If indicated, allergy immunization may be delivered as injections or oral drops.
Successful management of nasal-sinus allergy problems involves educating patients as to their correct diagnosis and recommending appropriate options of treatment.
Check today's pollen counts for the St. Louis metropolitan area by visiting the The Weather Channel allergy web page.