Allergies and sinuses: the fight against allergic rhinitis

One out of every 5 adults in the United States has nasal allergies or allergic rhinitis. Despite how common they are, many people ignore them.

“Allergic rhinitis is a disease that is not given importance,” said Dr. Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, an allergist at the University Of Cincinnati School Of Medicine. “Obviously, nobody dies because of it, but it can cause a lot of discomfort and suffering.”

All those sneezing, congestion and tearing affect the person. People with allergic rhinitis can lose work days and, if they are not lacking, they find it difficult to fulfill their work or school obligations. Therefore, allergic rhinitis causes losses amounting to billions of dollars in the United States.

Nasal allergies can also cause other disorders, such as problems of the sinuses or cavities. But this can be avoided.

“Allergic rhinitis is a problem that can be treated,” Bernstein said, “and when people get the diagnosis, with the right treatment, they do very well.” If your nasal allergies are too bothersome, it’s time to regain control.

Nasal allergies and sinus problems

The allergy symptoms, in and of themselves, are bad enough. But in many people, allergic rhinitis can cause or worsen other complications or disorders.

What is the relationship between allergies and sinus problems?

The sinuses are cavities in the skull that are connected to the nasal passages. When allergies cause the mucous membranes to swell, the inflamed tissue can block the cavities. The sinuses can not drain, and secretions and air are trapped. This produces pain and pressure.

Attention to the symptoms of allergies

Although allergies generate discomfort and complications, many people do not take symptoms seriously.

They do not realize the impact of allergies in your life, especially when you have lived with them for years and decades, said Dr. Leonard Bielory, MD, professor of allergy and immunology at Rutgers University.

They get used to nasal congestion, chronic sinus problems, sleep disturbances and fatigue, as well as breathing through the mouth. After a while, they do not remember the times without allergies.

When the symptoms get worse, they manage anyway. They buy various over-the-counter medications at the pharmacy. They try to guess the causes of their allergies and try to avoid what they think causes them. But they never receive a true diagnosis.

There are better ways to deal with the problem. Given the impact that nasal allergies can have on life, it is really necessary to receive a proper medical evaluation and treatment.

Treatments for allergic rhinitis: Over-the-counter medications

Do you have mild allergic rhinitis or symptoms that only occur a few weeks a year? Then, over-the-counter medications may be enough to provide relief.

Among the over-the-counter treatments for allergic rhinitis are:

Nasal spray with steroids. These medications reduce inflammation of the nasal passages. Doctors recommend them as the first treatment option because of their effectiveness and because they are easy to use. Many are sold by prescription and some, including budesonide (Rhinocort), fluticasone propionate (Flonase) and triamcinolone (Nasacort), can be purchased without a prescription.

Antihistamines: These drugs block histamine, a chemical that causes many allergy symptoms. They help relieve itching and sneezing. Among them are cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin). It is known that the antihistamines chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine cause drowsiness. If your main problem is sneezing and itching, your doctor may recommend one of these, possibly with other treatments. Allegra is easily available on RXShopMD.

Decongestants While it is possible to control many allergy symptoms with antihistamines, these do not relieve congestion. That is the function of decongestants. Some are taken by mouth, and others are nasal sprays. They reduce inflammation of the nasal passages and open them.

Nasal spray decongestants such as nafazoline (Privine), oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, Duramist) or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Rhinall, Sinex) should not be used for more than three days in a row. If you use them for a long time, they can make your symptoms worse. Doctors call this the rebound effect.

Oral decongestants – those taken by mouth, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Sudogest) – are not recommended for everyone. These medicines raise blood pressure, so you should not take them if you already have high blood pressure or certain heart disorders. Men who have difficulty urinating due to enlarged prostate may notice that this problem worsens if they take decongestants.

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