Allergies

Allergies are caused by the immune system’s reaction to things in our environment. The things you are allergic to are called allergens. Allergens can range from the things such as pollens and molds to food and chemicals. By far the allergens that cause the most sinus problems are those that we inhale such as pollens and molds.

When the body comes into contact with something to which it is allergic, it produces histamine, a chemical that causes swelling and inflammation. If allergies are severe and persistent enough, chronic conditions such as rhinitis, sinusitis, or asthma can result.

Allergies affect the sinuses when airborne allergens come into contact with the mucus lining in the nose and sinuses. The release of histamine and the resulting swelling can cause symptoms that include:

  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Irritation in the nose and throat
  • Circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow to the sinuses

In this part of Texas, allergies are very common due to the large number of pollen-producing plants. These include ash, mountain cedar (one of the worst), elm, grass, oak, pecan and ragweed. Non-plant allergens include mold, house dust mites, and pet dander.

See how we diagnose allergies ›