Environmental allergies can produce a multitude of symptoms in the head and neck region, including nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, itchy throat, sinus pressure and headaches, itchy ears and ear pain. Great Neck ENT provides treatments to minimize allergy symptoms while avoiding the inconvenience of allergy shots in the vast majority of cases. Serving Bayside, Queens, Long Island, and surrounding areas.
causes of allergies
Most allergies are inherited. If one parent has allergies, the child has a 50% chance of also having them. If both parents suffer from allergies, the child has a 75% chance. The specific allergen may be different. You may also be at a higher risk for allergies if you have asthma.
symptoms of allergies
Most allergic reactions are mild and symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itching and a rash. More severe reactions can result in abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting and dizziness. These reactions are rare.
Diagnosing allergies is done by evaluating symptoms and a full physical exam. A skin or blood test may be done also. The skin test is done by placing different potential allergens on the skin and then the skin is pricked so the substance can enter the body. If a reaction occurs on the skin, an allergy is diagnosed.
How can allergies be treated?
The most effective way to treat allergies is to simply avoid exposure to allergens. Other treatments include antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays and eye drops. Allergy shots called immunotherapy are also available and help to increase tolerance to allergens. The allergen is injected at increasingly larger amounts to reduce reactions.
The four sinus cavities, frontal, maxillary, ethmoid, and sphenoid are lined with soft tissue called mucous membrane and covered with cilia. The lining and cilia protect the body from dust, pollen, germs, and other foreign bodies in the air, and humidifies the air entering in through the nose. However, such high exposure to environmental irritants can overwhelm the body’s natural defenses and make many people susceptible to sinus infection or bacteria-nearly 50 million Americans are affected by sinus disorders annually.
Symptoms of a Sinus Problem
Symptoms of sinus disorders vary widely. Infection from colds or sinusitis can result in facial pain and pressure, discolored mucous discharge, or nasal obstruction.
How can a Sinus Problem be treated?
Most people can be treated with antibiotics, i.e. decongestants, antihistamines, and saline sprays, although surgery is an option if pharmaceuticals prove to be ineffective. Other factors such as a deviated septum may necessitate surgical treatment.
Sinus surgery is usually performed to enlarge the openings that drain the sinuses. A patient may choose surgery if other treatments (i.e. medications, nasal sprays, humidifiers, etc.) have failed to alleviate chronic sinus conditions.
Types of Sinus Surgery
Surgery can be performed using various techniques including:
- Endoscopic sinus surgery: the doctor uses a thin fiber optic tube to examine the openings of the sinuses and remove abnormal or obstructive tissue
- Image-guided surgery: combines CT scans with endoscopic surgery
- Balloon Sinuplasty
Usually these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. Recovery may include congestion and discomfort.
Q & A
How many sinuses do I have?
There are 4 pairs of sinuses, ethmoid, maxillary, sphenoid, and frontal. In about 5% of cases, the frontal sinuses are underdeveloped.
Why do we have sinuses?
Mucous membranes that line the sinuses filter, warm and humidify the air we breath.
What causes sinus infections?
Sinusitis is caused by viruses, bacteria, and in rare cases, fungi. Infection causes inflammation, which leads to the production of more mucous.
How are sinus infections treated?
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses, and are referred to as ‘colds’. Beneficial treatment includes hydration, decongestants, and saline sprays or irrigation. If the infection is caused by bacteria, treatment with an antibiotic may be necessary.
To Read more about how nasal surgery relieves chronic headaches click here
Sinusitis and Sinus Headache
Disorders of the sinuses are diagnosed and treated after a careful history is taken and examination performed. Our conservative approach to the treatment of sinusitis will initially include medication, and if appropriate, allergy treatment. If conservative measures fail to adequately treat a patient’s chronic condition, a CT scan of the sinuses will be requested to diagnose structural blockages and/or polyps obstructing the sinus outflow tracts. If surgery is indicated, the most minimally invasive technique will be utilized, including balloon sinuplasty, endoscopic sinus surgery, and computer image guided sinus surgery.
Sinusitis is a condition that refers to an inflammation of the lining within the paranasal sinuses.
What causes Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is usually caused by bacteria, a virus, or allergies.
Sinusitis can be classified by location:
- maxillary, which causes pain or pressure in the cheek area;
- frontal, which causes pain or pressure above and behind the eyes;
- ethmoid, which causes pain or pressure between or behind the eyes; and
- sphenoid, which causes pain or pressure behind the eyes.
Q & A
What is chronic sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis occurs when inflammation of the mucous membranes lasts for more than 3 months.
What are the symptoms of chronic sinusitis?
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis include persistent nasal congestion, facial pressure, headaches, nasal discharge, postnasal drip, cough, and reduced sense of smell.
How is chronic sinusitis diagnosed?
Ear, nose and throat specialists use an endoscope to examine the inside of the nose and sinuses. A CT scan may be indicated to look for structural issues affecting drainage of the sinuses.
How is chronic sinusitis treated?
Treatment may include antibiotics, sometimes for prolonged periods, nasal steroid sprays, saline nasal irrigation, and oral steroids. In some cases, a procedure to ‘open’ and drain the sinuses may be necessary.