Millions of Americans suffer from nasal allergies, commonly known as hay fever. At Valley ENT, we offer a full range of allergy testing to determine precisely what substances are causing your discomfort. Our doctors and staff can develop a management plan that will help to relieve your symptoms and make life more enjoyable.
Why does the body develop allergies?
Allergy symptoms appear when the immune system reacts to an allergic substance that has entered the body as though it were an unwelcome invader. The immune system will produce special antibodies capable of recognizing the same allergic substance if it enters the body at a later time.
When an allergen reenters the body, the immune system rapidly recognizes it, causing a series of reactions. These reactions often involve tissue destruction, blood vessel dilation, and production of many inflammatory substances, including histamine. Histamine produces common allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, nasal and sinus congestion, headaches, sneezing, scratchy throat, hives, shortness of breath, etc. One may experience less common symptoms such as balance disturbances, skin irritations and possibly even respiratory problems like asthma.
How can allergies be managed?
Allergies are rarely life-threatening, but often cause lost work days, decreased work efficiency, poor school performance, and a negative effect on the quality of life. Considering the millions of dollars spent on antiallergy medications and the cost of lost work time, allergies cannot be considered a minor problem.
What are common allergens?
Many common substances can be allergens. Pollens, food, mold, dust, feathers, animal dander, chemicals, drugs such as penicillin, and environmental pollutants commonly cause many to suffer allergic reactions.
Ragweed is one of the most significant causes of allergic rhinitis in the United States. It begins pollinating in late August in most of the U.S. and continues until the first frost. Late springtime pollens come from grasses. Early springtime hay fever is most often caused by pollens of trees. Flowering plants rarely cause allergy symptoms.
Certain allergens are present all year long. These include house dust, pet danders, and some foods and chemicals. Symptoms caused by these allergens often worsen in the winter when the house is closed up, and ventilation may be compromised.
Mold spores also cause allergy problems. Molds are present all year long and grow both outdoors and indoors. Dead leaves and farm areas are common sources for outdoor molds. Indoor plants, old books, bathrooms, and damp areas are common sources of indoor mold growth. Mold is also common in foods.