Relief for Allergy Sufferers (Even When You’ve Tried Everything)

 Spring has arrived and so has allergy season. For many people, this time of year can bring some miserable symptoms.According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans suffer from some form of nasal allergies,

Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to something in the environment that typically doesn’t affect other individuals. Some of the most common allergy triggers are pollens, grasses, weeds, mold, dust mites, and pet dander. Nasal allergies can be seasonal or year-round, but individuals with allergies frequently have more than one allergy trigger.

Typical allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, headache, itchy eyes and throat, wheezing, and more. While allergic reactions range in severity and duration, symptoms can be chronic and in many cases, lead to the development of chronic illness. Allergies have also been associated with sinusitis and asthma, in particular.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications can be effective and at least, temporarily ease allergy symptoms. Many people, however, do not get complete relief from medications and side effects can be a drawback.

If you struggle to manage your allergy symptoms or want to reduce your reliance on allergy medications, there are a number of other therapy options to consider. In some cases, a doctor’s care may be necessary to achieve lasting relief and you may want to discuss your with a physician.

The following strategies can help with the underlying issues that contribute to stubborn allergy symptoms and may help you achieve more effective and long-term relief.

Avoid Allergy Triggers

One strategy to prevent allergy symptoms is to limit your exposure your allergy triggers as much as possible.

Some of the most common allergens are found in the home. Try to remove the source of allergens from your home and reduce your contact with them in environments where you spend time. During high pollen and mold seasons, it can be helpful to keep your windows shut and use the air conditioner at home or in the car. Using an air purifier and vacuum with a HEPA filter can also help, as they trap particles like pollen, dust mites and pet dander.

With seasonal allergies, pollen is the most common culprits. You may want to avoid outdoor activities when pollen counts (or other allergen indexes) are high.  When you do spend time outdoors, change and wash the clothing you’ve worn. Try to take a shower and rinse your hair before bed to remove any pollen that may be on your hair and skin and to avoid transferring it to your bedding.

Washing out your nose with a saline rinse can also help reduce allergy symptoms. Many people find using a Neti pot or other nasal irrigation device daily an effective strategy that can bring soothing relief. Found in most drugstores, a Neti pot flushes the nasal cavities, helping to remove allergens and bacteria, alleviate inflammation, and reduce congestion.

Allergy Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is an allergy treatment that is administered either in the form of allergy shots or allergy tablets. The goal of this therapy is to desensitize your immune system to the particular allergens that trigger an allergic response. Similar to a vaccine, the allergens are introduced to your system in increasing doses and overtime, your body eventually develops a tolerance.

Allergy shots typically require a major time investment. They are administered once or twice a week over a period that can range up to 6 months. After that, the maintenance phase begins where shots are usually administered every 2-4 weeks on an ongoing basis. This treatment option, however, can provide significant and more long-term relief for many people. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Immunotherapy helps reduce hay fever symptoms in about 85% of those with allergic rhinitis.

Balloon Sinuplasty

People with allergic rhinitis are more likely to suffer from chronic sinus problems.

When both conditions are present, symptoms may be more severe and difficult to manage.  In some cases, allergies can lead to recurring sinus infections. When the inflammatory reaction to an allergen blocks the sinuses, it can prevent the normal drainage of mucus and trap bacteria in the sinus cavities, causing infection to occur.  

People with serious sinus issues related to allergies may benefit from balloon sinuplasty. The procedure involves gently inflating a small balloon to open blockages and restructure the sinuses. Balloon sinuplasty is found to be extremely effective at reducing the occurrence of infection, sinus pain and other sinus symptoms, helping patients to breathe easier.

Balloon sinuplasty and other sinus surgery methods won’t eliminate your allergies but they can help open up your air passageways and improve allergy symptoms. It may also help reduce the risk of developing other health problems due to your allergies.

If you struggle with persistent allergies and sinus problems, the Ohio Sinus Institute can help. Contact our office today to learn more and schedule an evaluation.