One of the main ways to distinguish allergy from other nasal or eye issues is if there is a specific trigger along with itching of eyes and nose, sneezing, watery nose, postnasal drip and nasal stuffiness. Allergies can also lead to migraine headaches, snoring, fatigue, asthma, sinus and ear infections. A drippy nose with cold air is normal and sometimes this occurs with spicy foods and is not a true allergy but a condition called vasomotor rhinitis.
Diagnosis / Testing
Most people with hayfever can diagnosis themselves after a few years of repeated symptoms of seasonal allergies. If symptoms are atypical or year round then the diagnostic testing for other causes (nasal polyps or chronic sinusitis) will be especially helpful. An allergy evaluation, consisting of scratch tests and sometimes a nasal endoscopy will help you determine what your sensitivities are and how to avoid your allergic triggers.
Antihistamines are first line treatment but don’t always work. Nasal steroid sprays (Flonase, Nasacort, Rhinocort) can help some patients but sometimes over these over the counter medications do not work and then it’s time for an evaluation. Presciption options includes additional antisistamine sprays and drops and sometimes allergy immunotherapy. There are some basic tips for avoiding seasonal allergy symptoms too.
When to see an Allergist
- current allergy medications are not relieving your symptoms or are causing side effects
- symptoms developed after obtaining a pet
- having difficulty breathing
- allergy patients anticipating pregnancy
- sinus headaches
- recurrent ear or sinus infections
- excessive snoring with allergies
- any allergy symptom interfering with quality of life