And so it begins: allergy season. One shuddering projectile sneeze turns into another, then another. Between sneezes, mucus drips from your nose, congestion sets in, fluid pools in your eyes causing constant irritation and misery.
The weekly hunt for relief in the pharmacy aisle is pointless. The sprays, pills or other gimmicks simply don’t work anymore.
“The sad reality is most of these people have issues that could be addressed in a simple manner—and it’s just not sitting at the pharmacy aisle," says Dr. Kandula. "The medical system is built to give you a band-aid so you keep coming back. And that is not a system I want to be part of in any way.”
What does this mean for your drippy nose, puffy and watery eyes, sneeze attacks, malaise, itchy everything, and irritability? It means you have choices...
How do allergies affect my health?
For starters, an allergic reaction can make you feel miserable. You’re less likely to go outside, exercise, and do the things you enjoy – like gardening. And, you're much more likely to feel listless and edgy. Here’s what you need to know:
- Allergies make you feel lousy, day and night...and if you don't breathe well, you don't sleep well.
- Allergy symptoms are cause by anatomy and/or lining issues in the nose & sinuses
- Rhinitis often precedes asthma, and can worsen it.1
- Half of allergy patients may also have asthma.2
- 66% of allergy sufferers have sleep issues.2
- Allergies can affect sleep and daily activities.
How are allergies treated? (You have options!)
You’re likely acquainted with, and possibly also vexed by, allergy medications sold at pharmacies. These aren’t inexpensive remedies, especially considering that you have to keep buying them. And, no you’re not imagining it—these treatments can wane or feel like they don’t work at all if your nose isn’t working properly.
The symptoms of allergies, or rhinitis, get the most attention because they’re the most annoying, but the source of the issue is one of two things: the anatomy or lining of the nose. When Dr. Ethan Handler, board-certified ENT, Sinus and Sleep Surgeon treats patients with rhinitis, he starts by making sure that air can flow in and out of the nose properly.
Once the nose is open and functioning as it should, patients can use a nasal spray to attempt to ward off the reactionary symptoms they loathe.
“Sprays are one option, but there are some patients who don't want to be on sprays long-term. And so there are options to treat the nerve that makes the nose swell inside in reaction to those allergies… and there are more long-term solutions that are procedures that can be done,” says Dr. Handler.
Allergy Drop Immunotherapy is another simple, long-term solution. Here, you’ll be tested for the most common allergens to discover what’s causing your body to go on the defensive. From there, we’ll use allergy drops to help desensitize the immune system to specific allergens, which can lessen allergy symptoms.
3 Simple Steps To Allergy Relief
1: Get Your Breathing Triangle Evaluation
First, we listen. At your new patient appointment, you’ll discuss your symptoms and goals with a Sleep & Sinus Specialist. You’ll also get a thorough Breathing Triangle Evaluation to help identify any underlying issues contributing to your allergies.
2: Uncover the Root Cause
Depending on your symptoms you may get an in-office CT scan, allergy testing or home sleep study to better understand the source of your allergies.
3: Treat Your Allergies with Simple Solutions
We offer several simple in-office options to ensure you have a healthy Breathing Triangle and treatments for long-term allergy relief. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be a candidate for: Balloon Sinuplasty, Turbinate Reduction, Nasal Cryotherapy, or Allergy Drop Immunotherapy.
Common allergies in the Midwest
“Common allergies include grass, weeds, trees, dust, pet dander and mold. For example, many people are affected by ragweed in the fall, commonly known as hay fever. Spring can cause symptoms from trees blooming. Allergy testing is done to determine what you are allergic to and how severe the allergy is. There are specific panels that are used for testing that are specific to the common allergens in your location.”
Hillary Hinkson, PA-C
On the effectiveness of over-the-counter allergy medications
"Our bodies adjust to certain medications and can develop a tolerance. Difference allergy medications have different "mechanisms of action", or routes by which they treat the body, so switching them up can be helpful."
On common myths about allergies and allergy treatments
"That allergy medication does not work for them. Usually from prolonged irritation and inflammation in the nose, there is a lot of swelling that is present. This prevents medications from working as well since the medication is trying to counteract chronic inflammation on top of acute swelling. Therefore, the medication may be working but the patient may not notice any significant change. That is where a turbinate reduction and balloon sinuplasty can help open up the nose to better improve the ability of these medications."
Megan Berendes, PA-C
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- Enrico Compalati, Erminia Ridolo, Giovanni Passalacqua, Fulvio Braido, Elisa Villa & Giorgio Walter Canonica (2010) The link between allergic rhinitis and asthma: the united airways disease, Expert Review of Clinical Immunology, 6:3, 413-423. 10.1586/eci.10.15
- Romano, M.R., James, S., Farrington, E. et al. The impact of perennial allergic rhinitis with/without allergic asthma on sleep, work and activity level. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol 15, 81 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13223-019-0391-9