North Richland Hills, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

Sinuses Can be Seriously Affected by Environmental Allergens

Woman suffering from seasonal allergies sneezing in handkerchief at autumn

You know those typical cold symptoms? Sneezing, runny noses, fevers, that sort of thing. The cold virus itself isn’t the cause of most of these symptoms, as it happens. Rather, these symptoms are a by-product of your immune response. It may sound strange, but your immune system creates a fever to protect you from bacteria and viruses.

Your immune system is really great! When your body would otherwise be overwhelmed with germs, your immune system keeps you healthy. But your immune system doesn’t always get things 100% right. In some cases, your immune system confuses something harmless for a danger and attacks it with all those antibodies.

All sorts of things can cause allergic reactions in people: dust, animals, peanuts, root beer, you name it. Environmental allergies, specifically, can cause symptoms that are very similar to the common cold: sniffling, sneezing, headaches, and more. Environmental allergies are usually breathed in, they’re part of your environment (hence the name), making them even more challenging to avoid. Over time, this can devastate your sinuses (not to mention your peace of mind).

Seasonal allergy symptoms

When your immune system recognizes something as a threat, an allergic reaction occurs. Your immune system will then energize its defenses, whether it’s dust, pollen, or whatever. This will create some of those common symptoms for the majority of individuals. Here are several of the most common:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Hives
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Stuffy nose
  • Eyes that are itchy or red or watery
  • Coughing
  • An itchy nose
  • Sneezing

As you can tell, the symptoms can be extensive. And from person to person, these symptoms can vary. One person might start coughing when they are near a cat, another may start to sneeze. But there’s a reason why sneezing is such a well-known symptom, among others.

Causes of allergy symptoms

Lots of substances, known as “allergens”, can cause environmental allergies. Commonplace allergens include the following:

  • Dust: Most individuals would be rather shocked to know how much dust is in the majority of homes. Allergic reactions can be triggered either by this dust itself or by other allergens that the dust might carry. It’s a good reason to keep your house clean!
  • Pollen: In terms of seasonal allergies, this is a big one. Trees, grasses, and weeds all discharge these microspores seasonally. If you’re not allergic to them, they’re harmless. The majority of pollens only travel a short distance and stay pretty local. However, some pollens can travel long distances on air currents. Which means you might have a pollen allergy even if there’s nothing green in sight.
  • Pet dander: Your allergic reaction isn’t generally due to the fur on your cat or dog.: it’s their dander. Particularly because the dander can very easily get into the air. Pet dander can cause all of those allergy symptoms if you’re allergic to it.
  • Dust mites: Dust mites are very small bugs that feast on dust. They’re generally entirely harmless. But you can find yourself with a runny nose, sneezing, and possibly even some wheezing when they cause an allergic response.

There are lots more environmental allergens than these out there. And of all these categories, lots of them can be even further sorted (just because you’re allergic to oak tree pollen doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a response to pine tree pollen, for example).

How do I know if I have allergies?

Maybe you have some awareness as to what you may be allergic to. But going to your doctor to get tested is the only way to know for sure. An allergy diagnosis can be completed in a couple of ways. The two most common are:

  • Blood testing: Your provider will look for specific markers in your blood that suggest an allergic response.
  • Pin prick test: Your doctor will gently prick your skin with presumed allergens and watch to see if there’s a reaction! Typically, this method is the most reliable. It can lead to some itching, but that’s a normal part of the test.

You will always need to go see your doctor for an official diagnosis. And you will have the peace of mind of recognizing precisely what you’re allergic to.

How to manage allergies

Allergic reactions, unfortunately, have no cure. But treating them requires three basic techniques.


It’s possible for you to prevent the onset of allergy symptoms by minimizing your exposure to allergen triggers. Inside, this means keeping the air clean, keeping mold under control, and vacuuming frequently (particularly if pet dander is an issue). Also, consider brushing your pets regularly and being mindful about how you dry clothes (an indoor drying solution is better than an outdoor one).

When you’re going outdoors, check the pollen count, and don’t be afraid to wear a mask if necessary. Plan your activities in the early morning or late evening when the pollen counts are lowest.

Treating allergens over the short-term

Treating symptoms can sometimes be accomplished by using short-term medications, such as antihistamines. Hopefully, these medications will offer some relief when symptoms surface.

It’s never a good idea to stay on these medications over long periods of time like months or years and should only be used to get you through a day or a week.

Treating allergies over the long-term

One of the most effective long-term treatment solutions is something known as immunotherapy. If you’re allergic to cat dander, for example, your doctor will expose you to a special preparation that consists of a tiny amount of cat dander.

It’s too small an amount to cause any noticeable reaction. But your immune system will still be able to begin to get used to handling that allergen. The amount of allergen will progressively increase with each subsequent injection. With time your immune system can become successfully desensitized with this approach.

Positive outcomes from this treatment might take a number of months to accomplish. But you can be symptom free for many years once your immune system is desensitized to that allergen. Tablets, drops, and shots are various forms of this kind of immunotherapy.

Allergies don’t need to ruin your quality of life

You may, at times, find yourself with a cold that just won’t clear up, especially at certain times the of year. Guess what? It isn’t a cold! Environmental allergies are hard to escape from so they can be especially difficult.

But just because you have environmental allergies doesn’t mean you need to be suffering. You can get a sinus infection or repeated sinus infections from seasonal allergies, after all. Managing allergy symptoms is the best way to prevent all this.

Want respite from environmental allergies? Schedule an appointment with us and find out about your options.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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