Allergy Treatment in Newport Beach, CA
Allergy in general refers to a hypersensitive response by the immune system to a stimulation. Allergic reactions can occur when food is eaten, when the skin is touched, or when a substance makes contact with the nose. There is also a difference between a true allergy and just a sensitivity. For instance, a person may be actually allergic to the dander of a cat, but if you put any person in a dusty environment, the nose will be sensitive to the dust.
Allergic rhinitis is a specific condition with excess swelling and mucus production within the nose. This happens when an allergen makes contact with the lining of the nose called the mucosa. Through a series of events, that mucosa becomes swollen and secretes excess mucus in an attempt to clear the allergen. This results in nasal congestion and a runny feeling. The main areas that become swollen inside the nose are the inferior turbinates (link to septoplasty and turbinate reduction). The first step in management of allergic rhinitis is to decrease the concentration of the allergen. Flushing the nose with saline on a regular basis is a very easy way to accomplish this. In areas of high allergen concentration, this should be done on a daily basis. The second step of the allergy management pyramid should be a nasal steroid similar to Flonase or Nasonex. These will decrease how swollen the nose gets when it is exposed to the allergen. After the nasal steroid, there are more specific medications that can be added if needed.
Many times nasal obstruction is a combination of swelling from allergy along with an narrowing due to anatomy. An in person examination is necessary to distinguish the amount of each factor and the best way to proceed in improving the nasal airway.