Sinus Allergy – Allergic Rhinitis – Powlin V. Manuel MD, MBA, MS.

sinus allergy

sinus allergy

Dr. Powlin Manuel is retired as of 1/1/22.

The most common reason for a visit to our office is for problems associated with nasal congestion and sneezing. Even though it is not a serious disease, people are bothered about it because of the inconvenience as well as the feeling of “not being normal” due to nasal congestion and blockage of sinuses.

Allergic Sinus Congestion

Sinus congestion can be due to allergies,  in which case you get “sneezing attacks”. Sneezing is a protective reflux, the means by which our local immune system at the nose is trying to get rid of an allergen or an irritant to the nose. Sneezing facilitates the reduction in the number of allergens getting into the airway. If more allergens enter into the lower airway, it can induce a spastic reaction leading to closure of the lower airway and symptoms of asthma.

Nonallergic Sinus Congestion

Many patients when tested for presence of allergies come out negative – which means that the allergy tests did not reveal any positive reaction. They suffer from symptoms similar to those caused by allergens, but the tests are negative. This is considered nonallergic sinus congestion. Lack of sneezing could be an indication that you are not suffering from allergic rhinitis, rather it is nonallergic sinus inflammation. This is often caused by presence of irritants such as dusts, chemicals, and perfumes.

One other common cause of sinus congestion is the lack of mechanism to accommodate changes in the environmental factors such as humidity change and temperature changes. Our nasal passage is normally equipped with nerves that lead to contraction and relaxation of arteries, veins, and the glands that cause secretions. These nerves can compensate for changes in the humidity and temperature and thus we do not suffer. When this mechanism does not work properly due to different reasons, you experience blockage of sinuses. Lack of sneezing could be an indication that you are suffering from non-allergic sinus disease.

Allergy to Oak Tree Pollen

Allergy season is open in Louisiana in March. Based on the patients already presenting with an acute attack of sinus allergy and watching the trees blooming, I can confidentially affirm that allergy season for 2014 has started in Louisiana. Oak tree pollen can be observed plentifully on trees all around us in Louisiana. This is especially applicable to water oak trees, which shed leaves in winter.

Oak-tree-pollen allergy
Oak-tree-pollen allergy

 

Oak tree pollen allergy
Oak tree pollen allergy

What happens when pollen is inhaled in patients with allergy?

Oak tree pollen entering the nose, most of them, are held back in the nose by filtering mechanisms of the nasal passage, preventing it from going into the lungs. The antibodies present in the cells of the nose put up a fight, and that results in release of a chemical called histamine in the nose. Histamine increases the blood flow to the area of contact. The glands of the nasal passage release mucus to digest the proteins of the pollen. This results in a watery discharge from the nose (runny nose). Histamine induces sneezing, which helps to expel the allergenic pollen in the sinuses. Now you know how it works.

 

 

Allergy to Pine Pollen

Pine-tree-allergy

Pine-tree-allergy

Recently patients coming to office for sneezing, cough, itchy eyes and misery went  up sharply. I find many pine trees starting the bloom.
In places where pine trees are plentiful, pine pollen could be a significant factor  causing sinus allergy symptoms. The pine pollen is too large to enter the lower                          airway.  Hence, a symptom of lower airway allergy such as asthma is usually not  triggered by  pine pollen allergy.

 

 

 

 

 

pine-pollen-allergy

pine-pollen-allergy