This year has been called the worst allergy season in recent memory, with experts stating that the pollen counts are higher than they have ever been before. If you have ever suffered from the runny nose, scratchy throat, watery eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion that come with seasonal allergies, then you know that allergies can significantly affect your day-to-day activities and reduce your quality of life.
What is Allergic Rhinitis?
Rhinitis is defined as inflammation of the nasal mucosa. The mucosa is the lining of the nasal cavity. This lining can become inflamed due to the inhalation of various allergens, such as air pollutants, cigarette smoke, and pollen. These allergens and others can cause the sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and runny nose of rhinitis.
Persistent runny nose or nasal discharge is referred to as rhinorrhea. This can be related to allergies or to other sources. Rhinorrhea is a symptom that should be evaluated by a qualified physician in order to determine the cause and provide effective treatment. The first step in a productive treatment plan is an accurate diagnosis.
Sinusitis: The #1 Chronic Illness?
Sinusitis means “inflammation of the sinus cavities.” Sinusitis occurs when the lining of the nose and sinuses becomes irritated. Mold, pollen, and infection by a virus or bacteria can all cause sinusitis. The inflammation can narrow the nasal passages, and thickened mucus can block the sinuses and impede their function. When the sinus cavities become severely inflamed or blocked, they can fill with fluid. The fluid trapped in the sinuses provides bacteria with an excellent environment in which to grow, and this causes infection. This is sometimes called a sinus infection.
Sinusitis usually occurs with or immediately after rhinitis. In fact, most ear, nose, and throat specialists refer to this as rhinosinusitis. The National Center for Disease Statistics has called sinusitis the #1 chronic illness for all age groups, and it is one of the most common healthcare complaints in the United States. Some symptoms of sinusitis that differ from allergies include thick or foul-smelling discharge, pain or pressure around the face and eyes, and diminished sense of smell and taste.
A Treatment Plan
The symptoms outlined above are common with allergic rhinitis, the common cold, and sinusitis. It takes a trained medical professional to determine the cause of your symptoms. Once your physician has made a precise diagnosis, then steps can be taken to improve your health and quality of life. This could include allergy medications, allergen avoidance, antibiotic therapy, prescription nasal sprays or other minimally invasive interventions. Whether you are suffering from seasonal allergies, a cold, or a sinus infection, targeted treatment options are available once you have consulted a qualified ear, nose, and throat specialist to help identify and determine the definitive source of your symptoms.