Do you suffer nasal congestion? What about that persistent runny nose? Itchy eyes? You might have allergies. You definitely have questions. We have answers! The experts at Del Rey ENT Associates offer you expert diagnosis and treatment of allergic conditions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about allergies from our patients:

What are allergies?

Allergies are simply the way your body reacts to a substance it views as foreign. For example, your eyes may water or you may have discharge from your nose when you are exposed to a substance such as pollen. Substances that cause these reactions are called allergens. Allergies of the sinuses are one of the most common, most irritating and most misunderstood of human health conditions.

What is an allergic reaction?

When exposed to an allergen, your body begins a sequence of events. Sometimes these offer you relief, and sometimes you may have a negative reaction. Your body responds to the foreign matter – like dust, pollen or pet dander – by producing allergic antibodies (called IGe). The antibodies find particles of the offending substance in your body, and send them toward the body’s “mast cells” (a type of white blood cell) for destruction. When the mast cells destroy allergens, a chemical called histamine is released into the bloodstream. A large amount of histamine swells body tissues (inflammation), causes itching, enlarges blood vessels, increases secretions, and causes bronchospasm (tightening of muscles that surround the airways).

What are the symptoms of allergies?

Allergy symptoms can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe:

  • Mild reactions include rash, hives, itchiness, watery or red eyes and/or runny nose.
  • Moderate reactions spread to several parts of the body and include itchiness, hives, swelling and trouble breathing.
  • Severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, can be life-threatening. This occurs when the body’s response to the allergen is sudden and affects the whole body. It may begin with itching of the eyes or face and quickly develops other symptoms including throat swelling; abdominal pain; cramps; vomiting; diarrhea; hives; and/or swelling (angioedema).

What are the types of allergies?

People can be allergic to a wide variety of substances; the most common are pollen and dust mites. Other airborne allergens include molds and animal dander.

Whatever the type of allergy that affects your ears, nose or throat, the symptoms usually include sneezing, congestion (feeling stuffy), and itchy, watery eyes. Some people may have allergic asthma symptoms (wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness) caused by exposure to pollen.

What is allergic rhinitis?

Nasal allergy symptoms and hay fever are also known as “allergic rhinitis.” Seasonal allergic rhinitis usually appears due to pollen from plants as they grow or flower (trees, grasses, or weeds), and may appear at different times of year.

Does everyone have allergies?

No, but allergies affect more than 50 million Americans (1 in 6). There is no cure for allergies but you can have relief of your symptoms.

How are allergies diagnosed?

If you think you have allergies, you should visit an expert allergist as soon as possible. Allergies are often mistaken for sinusitis, or sinus infection because the symptoms of allergies and sinusitis can be very similar. Many of our patients, and even physicians, misdiagnose the conditions.

If you want a solution for your allergies, you need the care of an expert. Our doctors are nationally recognized experts in sinus, allergy and other otolaryngological (ENT or ear, nose and throat) problems. With our expert diagnostic equipment including allergy skin testing, radioallergosorbent blood test (RAST) and an in-office CT scanner, we can accurately assess your condition and recommend the best treatment option for you, including whether it’s sublingual immunotherapy, minimally invasive sinus dilation or another pain-free technique.

The solution for you may be very simple. You do not have to live with allergy symptoms! Contact Us today to make an appointment.