Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common allergic disorders in America, affecting up to 1 in 3 people. The allergic tendency, called atopy, is often inherited. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itching, ear itching, postnasal drip which then causes frequent throat clearing and cough. Often the patient’s eye are also red and itchy and watery, but vision should not be affected.
The range of impairment caused if very broad: some people are only minimally affected during a season, while others are affect profoundly daily throughout the year. Sinus infections occur more frequently when the nose is inflamed because they cannot drain properly into the nose as they normally would. Sleep is also often disturbed, and this of course affects day time fatigue and job or school performance.
Austin essentially has outdoor environmental allergies all year round but the role of indoor allergens is tremendous and not to be overlooked. Thus, the first step in managing your symptoms always starts with talking to your doctor and getting properly allergy tested.
Once we know your allergic triggers, there are a variety of therapeutic options that your doctor will discuss with you. The best treatment available to treat the underlying cause and inflammation is allergy immunotherapy (in the form of injections or drops). Most importantly, studies have found that in atopic children who suffer from asthma, allergy immunotherapy can actually prevent the development of asthma!