Spring is one of the most enjoyable seasons in Goodyear; the extreme summer heat is still a ways off and desert flowers bloom to life. But for many who experience allergies, this time of year is anything but pleasant. In some cases, however, your symptoms aren’t actually due to allergies but are instead the result of a chronic sinus infection called sinusitis.
What Do My Symptoms Tell Me?
Between 40 and 50 million people across the country experience seasonal allergies. They are most common in the springtime, when grasses, plants and trees release pollens into the air, but may occur year-round. Mold spores, pet dander and environmental irritants can all trigger an allergic reaction.
The classic symptoms of allergy – itchy eyes, nose and throat; nasal congestion and discharge; post-nasal drip; coughing; sneezing; hoarseness; irritability and fatigue can also present in patients with sinus infections.
Telling them apart can be tricky. Sinus infections are often (though not always) accompanied by sinus pain and pressure, symptoms rarely experienced by allergy sufferers, while itchiness is usually confined to the latter group. The most effective way of distinguishing between the two, according to your Goodyear ENT doctor, is to look at when and how often symptoms occur. Those with allergies are usually affected immediately after coming into contact with an allergen; the allergic reaction is their immune system’s way of trying to rid the body of a substance it considers harmful. Sinusitis often follows on the heels of a cold or respiratory virus. Symptoms tend to last longer. The condition is deemed chronic when it persists for longer than 12 weeks.
What Treatment Options are Available?
Allergy sufferers in Goodyear may find relief from their symptoms by using over-the-counter allergy medications. Stronger drugs may be prescribed if symptoms persist. Those with frequent allergy attacks that aren’t easily controlled with medications may undergo immunotherapy, a long-term solution that utilizes allergy shots or oral drops to help the body build up a tolerance to the offending substance.
Those with sinusitis might try decongestants, antibiotics, nasal sprays or corticosteroids to help with symptom relief. Use of a humidifier or warm compress sometimes helps, as well. If these don’t do the trick, surgery is likely to be recommended. You’ll likely undergo one of the following procedures depending on the severity of your symptoms and any underlying anatomical issues:
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). Your surgeon will insert a thin, flexible instrument mounted with a small camera lens into your nasal passages. Images are transmitted from the camera, enabling your doctor to remove obstructions.
- Balloon Sinuplasty. Less invasive than FESS, this procedure involves a catheter with a small balloon attached to the tip. This is inserted through the nose into the nasal cavity and gently inflated, widening the passageways and allowing built-up fluid to drain.
If you are experiencing allergy-like symptoms and looking for relief, schedule an appointment with a Goodyear ENT.