ASTHMA AND ALLERGY CENTER OF WHATCOM COUNTY | A MEDICAL SPECIALTY CLINIC SERVING BELLINGHAM AND WHATCOM COUNTY

Nasal-Sinus Disorders

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Nasal and Sinus Disorders

The most common  type of "allergy" is  allergic rhinitis which is a medical term for nasal symptoms due to inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the nasal passage.  Rhinitis may be associated with one or a combination of nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching, or postnasal drainage. Rhinitis is a general term that describes a nasal problem, but does not necessarily mean that one has allergy. Some persons have this disorder but are not allergic, and the cause of  rhinitis is these individuals is unknown. Most have allergic rhinitis that is due to exposure to allergens in the air such as dust mites, animal dander, pollens and mold. Most persons with allergic rhinitis know that they have allergy problems because they experience sneezing and itching when around an allergen such as pollen or animal dander. However, some with nasal symptoms (rhinitis) do not realize that their symptoms are due to allergy because they do not experience sneezing or itching common with allergy, but may just experience nasal congestion with or without runny nose or post nasal drainage. Perennial, or year round allergic rhinitis is usually due to dust mites, animal dander or mold/fungal spores. It is important to understand that the only sign of allergic rhinitis may be nasal congestion due to the inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the nose. This is "allergic inflammation" due to exposure to allergens noted above. For those with seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hayfever, symptoms are due to inflammation and histamine release from "allergy" cells that build up in the mucous membrane during pollen exposure. The Asthma & Allergy Center of Whatcom County begins detecting tree pollen allergens from pollen counting in early to mid February. Grass pollen begins to show in mid May, and weeds late spring with the highest counts in the late summer. See WhatcomPollen.com.

See recommendations for treatment of seasonal / pollen allergy.

Other problems that can cause rhinitis symptoms include sinus infections (sinusitis), nasal polyps, and nasal septal deflections.  Physicians who are board certified in Allergy - Immunology are  trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating all forms of rhinitis and sinusitis. Other physicians who are trained in and have experience in treating nasal and sinus problems are Otolaryngologists, or Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Physicians.

Please review the following links below for additional information on nasal and sinus problems and treatment options.

  • From the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI):    Rhinitis    
  • Treatment of allergic nasal allergy Rhinitis Treatment                           
  • For helpful information on sinusitis, from the AAAAI:   Sinusitis