Allergies caused by the environment are particularly prevalent in Southern California. With warm weather plants, trees, weeds, grasses, and flowers are in bloom year-round, making pollen a staple in the air we breathe. In addition to allergies to pollen, many patients also suffer from allergies to other airborne elements including mold, animal dander, and dust. When patients are allergic to an environmental element, the tissues and mucous membranes within the nose and sinuses become irritated and swollen resulting in a narrowing of the nasal passageways, and a feeling of congestion. This condition is known as allergic rhinitis.
Allergies are the result of an overreaction of the body’s immune system to an element it perceives as toxic. Upon entering the nose and the sinuses, the allergens (dust, pollen, grass, weeds, molds, etc.) cause the body to release certain chemicals (histamine and leukotrienes in particular) thereby igniting an “allergic reaction.”
An allergy to environmental elements will produce symptoms including sneezing, watery eyes, red eyes, itchy nose, scratchy throat, puffy eyes, post nasal drip, and often sinus pain or pressure. Unfortunately, because the environmental allergens irritate the delicate passages of the sinuses, allergies often lead to recurring sinus infections or ear infections. In extreme cases, patients may develop asthma as a result of environmental allergies.
In order to treat environmental allergies, the ENT specialists at C/V ENT Surgical Group will first diagnose your allergies by skin allergy testing. Then a treatment program can be designed to address your specific environmental allergies.
The first course of treatment is often to reduce exposure to the allergens. This may involve using air conditioning versus opening windows, utilizing hypoallergenic pillow and mattress covers, regularly washing bedding and household items in hot water, and installing HEPA filters in your home. If the reduction of exposure does not alleviate your symptoms, then our allergy specialists will likely prescribe medical treatment which involves antihistamine medications and intranasal steroid sprays. In severe cases of environmental allergies, the doctors may institute allergy shot treatment. They may even at times recommend in-office turbinate reduction and/or in-office balloon sinuplasty for better control of the debilitating symptoms related to severe allergies.
The specialists at C/V ENT Surgical Group have helped thousands of patients throughout greater Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley and Thousand Oaks regions to get a reprieve from environmental allergies. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to begin working towards relief from your allergies.