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In the United States alone about 50 million people suffer from allergic nasal conditions, such as allergic rhinitis and hay fever. The conditions occur when your immune system is hypersensitive to an inhaled substance, such as pollen. For many people, allergic nasal conditions occur seasonally. But for others, the condition is present year-round.
Your immune system fights off substances, which can harm the body, such as bacteria. But in the case of allergies, your immune system overacts to a substance, called an allergen, which is not harmful. When the immune system overacts, chemicals are released into the bloodstream, which create an allergic reaction.
When an allergen is inhaled, it irritates the nasal passages and can cause a variety of symptoms. Although your allergy doctor will determine what you are allergic to, common allergens include pollen, grass, ragweed and fungus. Indoor allergens often include dust, household mites and mold.
Symptoms of allergic nasal conditions including allergic rhinitis are similar to a cold. Symptoms include nasal congestion, runny nose and post nasal drip. Coughing, fatigue and a headache can also develop. Symptoms may range in severity and can even interfere with day to day activities.
In order to get an accurate diagnosis of allergic nasal conditions, it is important to see an allergist. An allergy doctor can test you for an allergic reaction to a variety of substances and determine the cause of your symptoms. Testing may include skin tests, which involves pricking the skin and injected a small amount of a suspected allergen. If you are allergic to the substance administered during the skin test, you will likely develop a reaction, such as redness or a raised bump.
Treatment may be multifaceted depending on what you are allergic to and the severity of your symptoms. Your allergy doctor will likely educate you on ways to reduce exposure to allergens and prevent symptoms. For example, being aware of the pollen count if you are allergic, and staying indoors when counts are high may reduce allergy symptoms.
In addition to education and tips to reduce exposure to allergens, treatment may include medication, such as decongestants, antihistamines or a combination of drugs. Allergy shots may also be an option for some people. The shots consist of small doses of the allergen, which is gradually increased overtime. The purpose of the shots is to allow your immune system to get used to the allergen, which prevents a hypersensitive or allergic reaction from occurring.
If you have suffered from allergic nasal conditions, you know how annoying it can be. But effective treatment is available. For more information or to schedule an appointment call Dr. Boyan Hadjiev one of the best allergists in NYC.