What is allergic sinusitis?
Allergic sinusitis is an allergic reaction one experiences when exposed to common allergens such as animal dander, smoke, dust, pollen, etc. Family history can predispose allergy sufferers to allergic sinusitis. The onset of allergic sinusitis can develop over time and bouts of it can last up to four weeks (acute allergic sinusitis) or longer than eight weeks (chronic allergic sinusitis).
The symptoms of allergic and nonallergic sinusitis are very similar. The main way to distinguish between the two is that allergic often includes the symptoms of an itchy nose, eyes, and/or throat. Allergic sinusitis symptoms can vary pending the season and typically include:
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
- Nasal congestion and postnasal drip
- Sneezing and runny nose
- Headache, pain, and pressure around the sinuses (the forehead, cheeks, nose, and between the eyes)
- Behavior changes like fatigue, inability to focus, or irritability
- Sleep problems like snoring and insomnia
How is it diagnosed?
Allergy treatment centers are popping up all over the country right now. These clinics will give you a simple skin prick test, write a prescription, and move on to the next patient. If allergic sinusitis sufferers want to find real relief, they should be seen by a board-certified ENT specialist.
Dr. Capo with Capo Nose and Sinus Center will begin the appointment by reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam. A skin prick allergy test will follow and allow Dr. Capo to see exactly which allergens are causing your problems and how severe they are. Nasal endoscopy may be used to see how inflamed your sinuses are. Lastly, a CT scan of the sinuses may be needed to evaluate any infections, injuries, or other abnormalities present.
What are my treatment options?
As with all allergies, the best treatment is avoidance of the respective allergen. However, this is not possible for most allergies. Accordingly, your treatment plan will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Those suffering may go on to find relief via:
- Saline nasal sprays or Neti pots
- Inhaling steam (either over a warm bowl with a towel or in the shower)
- Immunotherapy like allergy shots or sublingual allergy drops
- Over-the-counter allergy and pain medication
- If a bacterial infection is present, antibiotics will be prescribed
Prescriptions and at-home remedies don’t always help. When this is the case, you may be suffering from chronic allergic sinusitis. When you have more a severe version, surgery may be needed to help.
What is endoscopic sinus surgery?
Endoscopic sinus surgery is an outpatient procedure done in a hospital setting. A tube with fiber optic lights is inserted into the nasal passages which allows the physician to see any abnormalities in the sinus cavities such as nasal polyps, tissue problems, and infection. Anything out of the ordinary is removed, and the infection is cleared away. This surgery requires full anesthesia, involves cutting and removal of tissue and bone, and recovery can take a few painful weeks.
Today, chronic allergic sinusitis sufferers have another option besides surgery: Balloon Sinuplasty. This is a minimally invasive in-office sinus procedure during which Dr. Capo will insert a small catheter with a balloon inside your nasal cavity and attach it into your sinuses. The balloon is then inflated, expanding the sinus cavities and allowing any present infection to drain. The return of normal sinus function is immediate and most Balloon Sinuplasty patients experience instant pain relief. Additionally, there is no need to cut or remove tissue with and the procedure takes about an hour. Even better, recovery time is typically just 24-48 hours.
Stop suffering from allergic sinusitis. Relief is possible with Dr. Capo at Capo Nose and Sinus Center. Schedule your appointment today to find out if you’re a good candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty.