It’s that time of year again! Spring is in the air, with flowers blossoming, songbirds serenading you with a symphony as you enjoy your morning coffee, and the promise of warmer weather. Unfortunately for some, it also heralds the return of nasal congestion, a runny nose, postnasal drip, and endless sneezing fits.
If this describes you, you may have nasal allergies, commonly referred to as allergic rhinitis. This simply means inflammation (“-itis”) in the nose (“rhin-“) due to allergies. These symptoms are quite common during the change of seasons and may be due to a variety of reasons. It is common for tree pollen to cause spring allergies, while grass pollen causes symptoms during the summer months and ragweed during the fall. However, it is common for people with allergies to be allergic to more than one thing. On the same token, there are many things that can cause nasal congestion and inflammation that may not be due to allergies.
Otolaryngologists (or “ENT’s”) are physicians who specialize in treating disorders of the nose and sinuses and will be able to help you. Click here to find an Otolaryngologist (ENT) near you to make an appointment.
During your appointment, you will likely be asked a number of important questions to determine the cause of your symptoms. For example, you may be asked:
- When are you most symptomatic? Is there are particular season or time of year that your symptoms bother you the most?
- Is there anything that triggers your symptoms, such as being around cats, or mowing the lawn?
- Is there anything you do that makes symptoms better, such as taking over-the-counter allergy medicine?
- Does anyone in your family have allergies?
- If you leave home for an extended period of time, such as for vacation, does this have an impact on your symptoms?
Having answers to these questions ready during your appointment will be helpful to figure out the cause. Your physician may offer allergy testing, either be testing your blood or skin, which may help determine if you have allergies as well as the specific things in your environment that you are allergic to.