It’s that loved and hated time of year when the weather gets warmer and sinuses across the country get upset. Seasonal allergies affect millions of people every year and are an immune system response to allergens, such as pollen, mold, and dust, producing histamine and other chemicals. These chemicals cause inflammation in the nasal passages, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, including sinus problems.
Sinus problems caused by seasonal allergies can include congestion, headaches, facial pain, and pressure. The sinuses may also produce excess mucus, which can lead to postnasal drip, sore throat, and coughing. In severe cases, sinus infections may develop, which can cause fever, fatigue, and other symptoms.
Preventing seasonal allergies and sinus problems can be challenging, but there are several strategies that may help. Here are some tips to consider:
Avoid allergens: The best way to prevent seasonal allergies is to avoid the allergens that trigger them. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high, and keep windows and doors closed. Use air conditioning or a dehumidifier to reduce indoor humidity and filter out allergens. If you do go outside for an extended period when pollen counts are high, taking a shower and changing clothes can help get pollen away from your body.
Clean your home: Regularly clean your home to remove allergens, such as dust and mold. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can trap small particles. Wash bedding and curtains in hot water and use allergen-proof covers for pillows and mattresses.
Use saline nasal irrigation: Saline nasal irrigation can help to rinse out allergens and mucus from the sinuses. Use a nasal saline spray to irrigate your nasal passages once or twice a day.
Take allergy medications: Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal corticosteroids can help to relieve allergy symptoms. Consult your primary care provider to determine which medications are safe and effective for you.
Get allergy shots: If you have severe reactions to seasonal allergies, immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, may help to desensitize your immune system to allergens over time. This treatment involves injecting small amounts of allergens under the skin to gradually build up your tolerance. Consult your primary care provider to determine if you’re a good candidate for this treatment and to get a referral to a Memorial allergy specialist.
While seasonal allergies can cause sinus problems and put a damper on your spring, there is hope! Follow these prevention steps and work with your primary care provider to find the right solution to your allergies.