When you have an allergy, your immune system misinterprets something harmless as a threat. This response can occur because of something you inhale, touch, or ingest. And whatever causes your reaction refers to an allergen.
Over 50 million Americans experience some type of allergy each year, because people can have allergic reactions to numerous things, and their symptoms can vary significantly. But, there are ways to find out what’s to blame for your symptoms.
As a top ENT doctor in New York City, Vandana Kumra, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies. If you have coughing, sneezing, or itchy, watery eyes, here are a few things that could be to blame.
There are numerous allergens all around you, including certain foods and medications. As an ENT, Dr. Kumra focuses on allergies causing symptoms in the ears, nose, sinuses, and throat. These typically include rhinitis and sinusitis.
Rhinitis, or nasal allergies, occurs when your nose irritants or allergens affect your nose and nasal passages. This often causes it to produce more mucus than average, and it’s usually a thicker consistency. The increase in mucus causes more drainage in the back of the throat, leading to irritation and coughing.
Rhinitis allergies can also cause itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, itchy throat or nose, and congestion.
Sinusitis describes inflammation or infection in your sinuses. These are the hollow spaces in your skull beyond your nose, and they contain a thin tissue lining the same as inside your nose.
That means your sinuses can become swollen or irritated, just like the inside of your nose when exposed to allergens. This leads them to discharge more mucus, which can get trapped inside the sinuses with air, causing painful pressure inside the head. When this occurs, you have a sinus headache.
Common allergy triggers
When it comes to rhinitis and sinusitis allergies, the culprits causing your symptoms are typically things inhaled, either indoors or outdoors. And if you have allergies, you may be sensitive to more than just one allergen.
Common allergens that affect the ear, nose, and throat include:
- Grass, weed, and tree pollen
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Cat, dog, and rodent dander
Some of these allergens cause seasonal problems, or “seasonal allergies.” However, others are present in the environment year-round and cause persistent symptoms.
Diagnosing and managing allergies
Fortunately, Dr. Kumra can help identify what’s causing your allergy symptoms.
During your allergy consultation, Dr. Kumra discusses your symptoms and health history, along with any medical conditions and drugs or supplements you may be taking. She also asks about any allergies you may have experienced and if you or your family have a history of asthma.
Based on your consultation, Dr. Kumra may also recommend allergy testing to confirm which allergens are triggering your symptoms. This test involves applying tiny amounts of the suspected allergen to areas of your skin and watching for a reaction.
After diagnosing your allergy triggers, Dr. Kumra helps create a personalized treatment strategy. In most cases, this involves oral or topical medications to control the allergic reaction and relieve your symptoms.
Do you think allergies could be causing your ear, nose, or throat symptoms? Contact ENT New York to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kumra by calling 646-859-6136 or booking online today.