Nasal Allergies

Are nasal polyps caused by allergies?

Nasal polyps are teardrop-shaped, benign growths which originate from the lining of the nose or sinuses. They usually cause no symptoms until their size begins to obstruct the airflow through the nose. Allergies are a recognized cause of tissue swelling and inflammation which can result in the formation of polyps, but many cases of nasal or sinus polyps have no relationship to allergies at all.

Can snoring be caused by allergies?

Snoring is caused by the turbulence of inspired air as it moves past a partially obstructed airway. In children, snoring is commonly caused by nasal congestion and enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils. Even though allergies may be the cause of the nasal congestion, the allergies must be considered a contributory factor of snoring, and not the primary cause.

How do I find out if I am allergic to cigarette smoke?

There is no allergy test for cigarette smoke (including cigar, pipe, marijuana smoke) because tobacco is not an allergen. Therefore, it is impossible to be “allergic” to cigarette smoke. On the other hand, tobacco smoke is a very powerful airborne irritant for those with respiratory allergies and asthma. Exposure in these individuals can certainly worsen symptoms. Therefore, asthmatics should totally avoid contact with cigarette smoke.

How long can I safely use decongestant nose sprays?

Decongestant nose sprays or drops such as Afrin, Dristan, Duration, 4-Way, etc are recommended not to be used for longer than 5 days consecutively. Prolonged use can result a “rebound” phenomenon, whereby the longer it is used, the more frequent it needs to be given in order to decongest the nose. Patients commonly become dependent on these medications and find that they need them many times a day in order to breathe through the nose. This results in a phenomenon called Rhinitis Medicamentosa.

Is it important to know which mold I am allergic to?

If your allergist tells you that you are allergic to mold spores, it is not critical to know specifically which molds you are allergic to in terms of mold identification and environmental control. Even though there are literally thousands of mold species, only a few dozen are likely to be significant causative agents of allergy symptoms in your geographic locale. Your allergist will test you to the those relevant mold spores, and if indicated, may suggest desensitization for those molds and other airborne allergens.

Is it true that cockroaches can cause allergies and asthma?

Not a pleasant thought, but, yes, cockroaches have been identified as a the source of very strong allergens which, when inhaled, can result in significant nasal, eye, or lung symptoms, including asthma. The cockroach allergen is most problematic in inner city tenement or low income housing units where cockroach infestations are likely found.

Is pine pollen a common cause of springtime hay fever?

Contrary to popular belief, pine pollen is not a common cause of allergy symptoms. Pine pollen is a relatively large pollen which falls from the tree to your car and rarely flies up one’s nose, except on very windy days. Pine pollen also has a relatively thick shell which shield the allergenic component of the pollen when inhaled, thereby minimizing symptoms. It is all of the other and lighter tree pollens which are pollinating at the same time as pine which causes the intense symptoms of hay fever such as runny nose, congestion, sneezing and eye and nose itching.

When does ragweed season start and end?

That really depends on where you live in the U.S. The further south one lives, the earlier ragweed will be detected in the air. In the southeast, ragweed begins as early as late August and peaks in September. Compared to the the spring, the fall pollinating season is relatively short and tends to end with the first or second frost.


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