What is Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis (A.R) is more commonly referred to as “hay fever” or “allergies.” The medical term describes a cluster of symptoms that affect the nose, causing inflammation and an immune system reaction. Exposure to irritants or allergens during the Arizona allergy season can cause extreme discomfort and may also exacerbate other respiratory issues, making diagnosis and treatment vital.
Once treated, most people find that recovery is rapid, and that they can immediately return to normal activities. The problem is that most people do not go to a specialist right away, so please read so you can avoid this!
Allergic Rhinitis Symptoms & Causes
Patients suffering from A.R. can react differently from one another. Usually, early signs cause clients to wake up feeling groggy or stuffed up, with a tickle in their throat or nose. After a day of rubbing their eyes and sneezing, most know that the allergy has started. If you are experiencing any of the following, Allergic rhinitis is a likely culprit:
- Persistent sneezing
- Runny nose
- Watery Eyes
- Feelings of pressure in the head, neck, or face
- Fatigue or sluggishness
- Poor sleep quality
- Altered sense of smell
- Altered sense of taste
- Clogged ears or impaired hearing
- Discoloration around the eyes
- Mild swelling or puffiness in the eye or nasal area
- Sore throat or hoarse voice from draining
Hayfever (allergic rhinitis). can be caused by any irritant that triggers the immune system. Dust, animal dander, mold, pollen, or chemical exposure, are all possible instigators, with pollen being the most common. When pollen is the issue, we often refer to the condition as “hay fever.” Grasses, weeds, desert flowers and trees flood the air with seeds and pollen throughout the warm months, making hot, dry Arizona allergy season conditions especially miserable for hay fever sufferers.
Treatment Options -Make Changes to your Lifestyle
Great strides can be made to address allergies via simple lifestyle changes.
Patients often find tremendous relief from installing air filters that remove excess dust, debris, dust mites, and pet dander from the air. This is particularly important when they live near high traffic areas, construction sites, or open fields. If allergies are severe, it may be smart to avoid opening windows since dust tends to blow around at a higher rate. Adding humidity to the air will help contaminants fall to the ground so they can’t irritate sensitive nasal passages and lungs.
- Mold: If mold is a factor in symptoms, patients shouldhave a heating and cooling professional visit to inspect for growth in vents and air conditioning units.
- Food: Food allergies can compound other allergies, so if you see reactions after eating foods containing dairy, nuts, or other common allergens, you should make dietary alterations to reduce inflammation and reactivity in the body, and make an appointment immediately at one of our allergy clinics!
- Pet Dander: It may be impossible to give up pets, so it is important to try other measures that dramatically reduce exposure to dander. Using washable slip covers on furniture is recommended. Frequent vacuuming with a cleaner designed to pick up pet hair is ideal. Strategically placed air filters can greatly minimize the presence of allergens in rooms frequented by Fido or Fluffy.
- Nasal Wash: The popularity of nasal washes is directly due to their success in helping allergy sufferers. The wash serves to both soothe nasal passages and rinse away debris. As this debris is reduced, compounding of congestion as blocked passages collect allergens is resolved, providing almost immediate comfort. Special pots for this purpose have been around for centuries and are known as “neti pots.” More modern versions can be found in most pharmacies.
Treatment Options -Clinical Solutions to Allergic Rhinitis
There’s a good chance that if you’ve read this far, you’ve already tried a number of lifestyle solutions without success. This indicates that it’s time to get professional help at one of our clinics. Something more complex may be causing your allergies and we do a number of allergy tests that can help us to find out what is triggering your issues. Our doctors can even test for specific allergens – and will prescribe targeted treatments that work MUCH better than home, or over-the-counter remedies.
Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates can help!
Our 5 clinics have allergy experts (nurses, physicians and staff) who can get to the true heart of your problem. While the term “allergies” is very broad, the truth is that most patients struggle with a few specific triggers to their respiratory health. Knowing exactly what those are, helps you and your doctor identify the most successful, individualized treatment plan for you. This may include lifestyle changes similar to those above, or could include prescription strength medications. Treatments may include:
- Oral antihistamines to block the body’s allergic reactions
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays
- Decongestants to mitigate symptoms
- Leukotriene inhibitors to stop the release of allergy associated chemicals in the body
- Allergy shots
No matter what course you and your physician choose, A.R. is highly responsive to treatment. Most of these are noninvasive, and allow you to live uninterrupted with vastly improved comfort and energy levels. There is no reason to delay. Call us now at 602-242-4592 and banish your allergy symptoms today!
Statistics suggest that sinusitis, a common medical condition, affects one out of every eight adults each year. Children may also suffer from this infection; however, because their sinuses are not fully developed until they are in their late teens, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish their presenting symptoms from allergies, vs. colds or viruses.
Definition of Sinusitis and Facts:
While they vary in size, shape and development, humans have four pairs of mucous lined sinuses, which are located in their cheekbones, lower forehead, between the eyes and behind the nose. When they are infected by multiplying bacteria, fungi or viruses, sinuses react to the invaders through the swelling, inflammation and irritation of their mucosal linings, which leads to blockage of normal sinus drainage. The blockage can be manifested in the following manner:
- Acute: can last up to three weeks.
- Subacute: can last anywhere from three weeks to three months.
- Chronic: typically lasts longer than three months and can also present as a series of acute episodes on top of the chronic condition over time.
Sinusitis Symptoms and How Related to Allergies:
The symptoms and complaints of sinusitis are generally specific to their
type. They can be acquired during a hospital stay or nosocomial; triggered by allergies or a cold, viral, fungal or bacterial infections; or be linked to immunosuppression problems. According to Reuler, Lucas and Kumar (1995) and Caspersen, Walter, Walsh, Rosenfeld, and Piccirillo (2015), the following is a list of selected symptoms and complaints based on the type of sinusitis.
- Acute: Facial pain and fullness, pain around the eyes, headache, cloudy, green, yellow, clear or purulent nasal discharge, decreased sense of smell and fever. Also, may be difficult to distinguish from common cold or allergies.
- Allergic: Some resources refer to an “allergic” sinusitis, which is associated with “allergic rhinitis.” This is a nasal condition that occurs when individuals have an allergic reaction to something that they breathe in. The symptoms usually resolve when the offending allergen is removed or the particular allergy season ends.
- Subacute: Complaints similar to acute presentations, but last up to three months.
- Chronic: Similar complaints as acute sinusitis with the addition of nasal obstruction or polyps, postnasal drip, halitosis and lasting longer than three months. Pain may be absent in chronic sinusitis, except for those individuals with frontal sinus infections.
- Hospital Acquired or Nosocomial: Occurs after patients are hospitalized and is contracted either through something in the hospital’s environment or staff hygiene practices or illnesses. The infections usually affect the sinuses on both sides and are frequently seen in those patients with long-term ventilator needs; nasogastric and tracheal tubes; or with nasal packing due to injury or surgical procedures on their skulls and faces.
- Immunosuppression Problems: In addition to the symptoms reported in sinusitis, opportunistic fungi and other gram-negative microorganisms may be seen in individuals with HIV or other immune deficiencies. According to Lal, there are several types of fungal sinusitis, which may be invasive or non-invasive.
Causes of Sinusitis:
According to Caspersen, et al (2015), Reuler, et al (1995) and Lal (n.d.), sinusitis is an infection caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, which are associated with respiratory illnesses, deficient immune systems, and other conditions. Acute sinusitis caused by bacteria is manifested when an individual has not improved at all after ten days of getting sick or if their condition worsens within ten days after they begin to get better. When the cause of the sinusitis is a virus, however, the individual is usually sick less than ten days and does not get worse. As for fungal sinusitis, most people in good health who have strong immune systems are not affected by the presence of fungi that they may inhale. The fungi may, however, cause infection and inflammation of the sinuses and nose in individuals with weakened immune systems. It may also occur in individuals who have been on long-term antibiotic therapy.
Sinusitis Diagnosis and Tests:
Sinusitis, in its many forms, cannot be diagnosed based on signs and symptoms alone because other conditions may mimic sinusitis. Additional information may be obtained through a physical exam and assessment; a medical history review; CT scans for severe or chronic sinusitis or complications; sinus x-rays; endoscopic sinus exams (ESM); allergies and immune functioning tests; needle aspiration and culture of sinus contents to identify the microorganisms causing the problem; or a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to see where the infection has spread or if there are any growths or tumors in the sinuses or nose. Current guidelines advise health care providers to refrain from ordering expensive radiological diagnostic tests unless severe complications are suspected or if there is facial swelling or cranial nerve complications (WebMD; Potera, 2015).
Treatment and Therapy:
Following a correct diagnosis of sinusitis and before prescribing any treatments or therapies, healthcare providers must be aware of the current clinical practice guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. ENTNET’s latest directives suggest that antibiotics are not needed for viral or fungal sinus infections. Additionally, when the infection is bacterial, there should be “watchful waiting” or a seven-day waiting period without antibiotics to see if the individuals get better on their own. Over the counter treatments for both bacterial and viral sinusitis include nasal steroid sprays, nasal irrigations or rinses as well as pain relievers.
Prevention and Prophylaxis:
An effective strategy to help prevent sinusitis is the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, which promotes rest, stress reduction, good nutrition, strengthening of the immune system, annual flu shots, exercise and frequent hand washing.
Where to find help:
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you could make an appointment with one of our Arizona specialists to help determine the right course of action, and treatment plan. Patients and healthcare providers should always conduct specialized testing and meet in person to discuss the benefits and potential risks or harms of treatments based on your unique body.
Caspersen, L.A., Walter, L.M., Walsh, S.A., Rosenfeld, R.M., and Piccirillo, J.F. (2015). Plain language summary: Adult sinusitis (Sinus infection). Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Vol. 153(2), Lal, D. (n.d.) Fungal sinusitis. care.american-rhinologic.org/fungal_sinusitis
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. (n.d.). Retrieved from entnet.org/
WebMD. Allergies Health Center. webmd.com/allergies/picture-of-the-sinuses
One of our specialty is working with children. Sadly, our Phoenix area allergy doctors see respiratory illnesses quite often since they are very common for children, especially those who are younger than five! Believe it or not, most children develop between three and eight colds or other kinds of illness of the respiratory system each year!
As you might expect, this number is even higher among kids who go to daycare, as germs and viruses can migrate between kids pretty easily. Tobacco smoke has also been linked to respiratory illnesses as well.
Luckily, most of these illnesses are not serious and will go away on their own. There are some, however, that can have a lasting effect. If you suspect your child has asthma or pneumonia, you will need an evaluation and care plan from a specialized physician such as an allergist within the phoenix area.
You can use the items in this guide to show you which of the respiratory illnesses are caused by an infection as well as how many are non-respiratory conditions. This will let you know when exactly your child needs to go to the hospital.
How does the respiratory system work?
There are two parts to the respiratory system: the upper and the lower. As far as the upper goes, this will include the mouth, sinuses, nose, and throat. This is what is traditionally known as a head cold, and the conditions involved are:
- The Flu
- Common Cold
For the lower respiratory system, that is basically the lungs and bronchial tubes of a person. Children under five will tend to experience much more severe symptoms that may require immediate medical attention.
Some symptoms of this type of illness include rapid breathing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, especially if they’re under five, you should get them to a doctor immediately.
The common conditions here are:
- RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus
This one is probably the most pervasive on this list, as it can be caused by upwards of 200 different viruses which are all capable of traveling from one person to another fairly easily.
You might wonder why the common cold has yet to be eradicated, but we will tell you it’s because of the fact that there are so many different viruses that can cause it.
Many already have a good idea of what the symptoms are, but let’s lay them out just in case:
- Runny nose
- Nasal Congestion
- Sore Throat
- A low fever for the first couple of days
- Mild to moderate hacking cough
Officially known as influenza, this can be a very serious, dangerous condition for children under five to go through, and it would be best to get to an allergy and asthma clinic. This disease also affects the upper respiratory system, but it has several key differences from the common cold that set it apart.
- Body aches
- Fever with chills
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Stomach ache or vomiting
This is an illness that’s pretty much confined to only children. It’s an illness that inflames the windpipe, the voice box, and even the airways that lead to the lungs. The best way that you can tell if the sickness is croup is if the child suddenly has a strong, barking cough that comes on in nighttime. It mostly affects kids who are between the ages of three months and three years. The symptoms here are:
- Dry and barking cough
- A tight throat
- Noisy and labored breathing
- A high-pitched noise when the child inhales
Infections and allergies both affect the sinuses in the same way that the nasal passages are affected. This all causes some swelling and plenty of mucus. The more that this mucus accumulates, the more germs that will grow there. The infection that follows will be painful and cause the following symptoms:
- Nasal congestion or discharge, any color
- Headache or facial pain
- Coughing in the day and at night
- Low fever
The severe symptoms are:
- Nasal mucus that’s yellow or green
- A fever above 102°F
Now that we’ve seen some of the upper respiratory diseases, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the lower respiratory illnesses.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus
RSV does start as an upper respiratory virus, but it tends to move into the lower respiratory system and cause illness in infants as young kids. It’s so common, in fact, that it actually affects more than 90 percent of all kids before they turn two.
RSV usually manifests as nothing more potent than the common cold for many children. However, there are cases where the lower respiratory tract is affected and swollen. This causes there to be less room for air to pass through the lungs, which causes the poor kids to have difficult, wheezy breathing.
There are actually studies that have looked at the incidence of RSV. When kids experience a more serious form of RSV, they’re apparently more likely to develop asthma at some point in the future. Here are some of the symptoms:
- Upper respiratory symptoms of common cold
- Fast breathing
There are a variety of illnesses that young kids can be afflicted with. Both the upper respiratory system and the lower respiratory system can be plagued by some kind of infection that could manifest as the common cold or be disguised as something similar while being more potent than the other form.
It’s common and understandable to react to cold-like symptoms as being nothing more than a common cold in your child. However, there’s a definite possibility that the symptoms your child is experiencing could be the result of something more serious such as asthma or allergies!
It’s always best to rather be safe than sorry. Especially if your child is experiencing more severe symptoms, or has symptoms that are lasting abnormally long, it’s best to get in touch with an asthma specialist or allergist who cares about its patients and puts their best interest at heart.
Please call to reach out to us for an appointment if you would like to make your child healthy again! Our doctors have years of experience at handling these types of situations and specialize in pediatrics. We will help you and your child at our local Anthem Allergy & Asthma Clinic, or our Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale and Avondale clinics!
Unless you’re severely allergic to something and ingesting it could harm you, allergies are mostly non-life threatening. But even so, mucus-filled sinuses and teary eyes are enough to get you feeling sluggish and unwilling to do anything but hold a tissue box and wait for it to pass.
There are many sources of allergies like food, some types of medicine, and things like dust and animal hair. Among the common allergens that get a lot of folks temporarily bedridden for days is pollen, which are tiny particles that plants use to fertilize each other. In fact, allergy to pollen is so common that there are various websites and news resources that keep track of pollen count, which is a numerical value assigned to describe how much pollen there could be outdoors at a given time.
According to HowStuffWorks.com writer Karen Serrano, MD:
When you hear or read about the daily pollen or mold count, it’s yesterday’s count. It represents the pollen or mold samples taken during the previous 24 hours. Pollen and mold counts are usually reported as low, moderate, high, or very high. These represent your risk of developing allergy symptoms. So if the pollen count is high, you have a high chance of having symptoms if you’re allergic to pollen.
Generally, the higher the count for your allergens, the greater your risk of developing allergy symptoms if you’re exposed. However, it isn’t absolute. Your allergy symptoms may also be affected by recent exposure to other allergens, the intensity of the exposure, and how allergic you are to the various allergens.
Allergic reactions, like stuffy noses, itchy skin, and swelling are actually caused by your immune system going temporarily haywire. When particles (mostly protein) from certain things like pollen, seafood, or medicines get into the body, the immune system tries to wipe them clean, but in the process of doing so, they release too much histamine, which causes various reactions. Although staying indoors can help reduce the symptoms, finding an allergist in Phoenix can help you find treatment to reduce the reaction.
Before finding treatment, an allergist first has to determine what you’re allergic to through different kinds of testing. Then, he can work with an immunologist in Phoenix labs or clinics like the Adult &Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C. to come up with an effective treatment that will solve your allergic overreaction.