Category: Allergies

The Effect Smoking Has On Your Sinuses

Person smoking cigarette

Most people are aware by now that smoking is bad for their health. In damaging the airways and the lungs, smoking causes coughs, colds, wheezing and asthma as well as more severe issues like pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. Smoking also harms nearly every other organ of the body and is linked with heightened risk for everything from certain eye diseases to immune system problems to erectile dysfunction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One lesser-known effect of smoking? Its impact on the sinuses. Here’s a closer look at how smoking damages the sinuses, along with what you can do to start breathing better if you’re a smoker afflicted by sinusitis.

Smoking and the Sinuses

According to a study conducted by the Sinus Center at Mass. Eye and Ear, smoking wreaks having on the sinuses in several ways. For starters, the chemicals found in cigarettes are toxic to the cilia of your nasal passages. These hair-like cells which line the sinuses defend against infection by trapping and expelling foreign passages. In impairing the movement of cilia, smoking leads to a buildup of mucus and the potential for blocked nasal passages. The resulting inflammation can also cause facial pain, headaches and even dental pain.

Furthermore, while cilia are usually able to clear passages effectively when exposed to moderate irritants, the high volume of smoke impairs their ability to perform. This means pathogens like bacteria and viruses have easier access to the body. The result? A weakened immune system and increase the risk of sinus infections. Wondering why you get sick so often? Smoking may be the cause.

Lastly, in immobilizing the nasal cilia, smoking leads to congestion. Not only is this annoying during the daytime, but it can also cause difficulty sleeping at night due to coughing caused by mucus buildup. According to a study published in the journal Sleep and Breathing, smokers also have higher rates of obstructive sleep apnea than non-smokers due to the restricted airflow.

Think you can avoid these issues by using e-cigarettes? Think again. While scientists are still determining the extent to which vaping is bad for your health, mounting research points to dangers ranging from “vape lung” to increased allergy sensitivity, nasal congestion, and sinus infections.

Managing Sinus Issues

If you are a smoker, add sinus issues to the list of reasons why quitting — both cigarettes and e-cigarettes — will improve both your health and your overall quality of life. Says Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, who headed up the Mass. Eye and Ear study, “If patients tell me that they are smoking, I now have direct evidence to say that the same symptoms that are making them miserable are exacerbated further by smoking.”

On that front, there’s both good and bad news. First, the good: If you are a smoker with chronic sinus disease, you can expect to see your symptoms improve after you kick the habit. The not-so-good news? Data further shows that it takes 10 full years for the harmful effects of smoking on the sinuses to completely reverse.

This doesn’t mean you have a decade of suffering ahead of you, however. Today’s ENT specialists have more tools than ever to help manage sinusitis, including cutting-edge, minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty. If you live in the San Antonio, Texas area and are ready to take a giant step toward eliminating your sinus symptoms and breathing better, book your consultation with the American Sinus Institute today.

How the Summer Heat Affects Your Allergies

woman suffering with summer allergies during a run

The average temperatures in San Antonio during the summer hover in the sweltering mid-90s. Hot weather affects the body in many ways beyond merely causing us to sweat. It can also lead to increased symptoms for people with allergies. Here’s a closer look at how summer heat compromises your breathing, along with what you can do about it.

Heat, Humidity and Breathing

The weather may be a common small talk topic. However, as anyone who’s ever been through a tornado, hurricane, or other extreme weather event knows, weather can be a really big deal. But even when the sun is shining on a “perfect” summer day, the weather can still wreak havoc on our health and wellness — especially if you have allergies or asthma and the inflamed airways that go along with them.

Explains the American Lung Association, “Because people with asthma already have inflamed airways, weather is more likely to have an impact, as breathing in hot, humid air induces airway constriction in asthmatics. Air pollution can also be a factor impacting summer breathing in those with lung disease, as increased ozone from smog is often seen in the summer months.”

Meanwhile, repeated exposure to seasonal allergies like pollen can lead to the development of allergic rhinitis, AKA “hay fever,” and allergic sinusitis, in which the nose becomes blocked leading to the blockage of sinuses. Allergic sinusitis shares similar symptoms with nonallergic sinusitis, including nasal congestion; itchy eyes, nose and throat; headache pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure around the face; increased irritability, trouble to focus and fatigue; sleep problems; and a reduced sense of smell and taste, according to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Taking Control of Your Health

The good news? There are some things you can do to minimize the impact of summer heat on your health — starting with avoiding known triggers. Recommends the Mayo Clinic, “Even if you’re treating your allergy symptoms, try to avoid triggers. If, for instance, you’re allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed when pollen is high.” Additionally, air conditioning can reduce exposure to hot, humid air.

Also, keep in mind that some days are worse than others in terms of heat, humidity, and air pollution. By monitoring weather and air quality forecasts, you can limit your time outdoors on especially hot or high air pollution days in order to avoid triggering your nasal allergies.
Lastly, taking your controller medication as prescribed as well as keeping quick-relief medications with you at all times can help you minimize the degree to which changing weather conditions impact you and your breathing.

Despite your best efforts, you may still find your allergy symptoms worsening in the summer. However, you don’t have to continue to suffer with no hope for relief. You may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty, a minimally invasive alternative to traditional sinus surgery which can safely and effectively reduce uncomfortable and painful allergic sinusitis symptoms. Book your appointment with San Antonio’s American Sinus Institute today to learn how we can help you solve your sinus problems and breath easier this summer.

What Causes Respiratory Allergies?

what causes respiratory allergies

Have you ever noticed, when you cough or sneeze, most people’s first assumption is that you have a cold? If you are like most allergy sufferers, you’ve frequently had to explain that, no, a cold or flu is not the cause of your symptoms. What causes respiratory allergies in the first place?

Why Do Some People Have Nasal Allergies?

Our immune systems detect and protect us against invaders like bacteria and viruses. However, for reasons we do not understand, some people’s immune systems react to otherwise harmless triggers such as dander, dust and pollen. When this happens, your body goes into many of the same defensive actions that it would when you were suffering from a cold or bacterial infection. The symptoms that you suffer are part of your body’s defense.

What Are Some Common Respiratory Allergy Symptoms?

According to researchers, around 8.2 percent of adults in the US suffer from hay fever or other nasal allergies. If you suspect you have allergies, you can find out by getting an allergy test. You may have allergies if you suffer regularly from allergy symptoms.

Signs of respiratory allergies include:

  • sneezing
  • watery or itchy eyes
  • congestion
  • cough or sore throat
  • runny nose

What Should You Do if You Have Allergies?

If you and your doctor determine nasal allergies are causing your symptoms, you have several options for allergy treatment. Many people find they are able to control symptoms effectively with the use of allergy medicine. Modern antihistamines can block histamine production without making you feel sleepy or groggy like antihistamines from the past. There are a number of antihistamines available over the counter or with a prescription.

Other people find their allergy symptoms are best managed with nasal steroids. These steroids are available in the form of nasal sprays that apply the steroids directly to the affected sinus tissue.These are essentially a topical medication, they are less likely to cause side effects than other steroid medications.

Many other people find they prefer longer lasting treatment for their respiratory allergies. Over time, they may find allergy medicines do not work for them as well as they did in the past. In some cases, people prefer to seek out long lasting treatment so that they are not reliant on daily medication.

Allergy shots are an option for people who have frequent or severe nasal allergies. Administered over a sustained period of time, allergy shots can reduce your sensitivity to allergens and reduce your need for allergy medicine. In many cases, people are able to fully stop taking antihistamines.

If you often get a sinus infection during allergy season, you may also have issues with your sinuses. Some people have sinus blockages that can make allergy-related symptoms worse. Treatments like balloon sinuplasty can help open passages to give you relief.

Are seasonal allergies causing you grief? Our team at American Sinus Institute can help identify what causes your allergy reactions and create a plan of care to help you breathe better. Get in touch today and book an appointment.

Three Ways to Control Allergies

couple dealing with ways to control allergies

Do fall allergies seem to interfere with your life every year? If so, you are not alone. As many as 50 million people in the US alone suffer from some sort of nasal allergies every year. Allergies are the country’s sixth leading causing of chronic illness. Luckily, modern science offers a wide range of ways to control allergies and allow you to feel better. Treatments fall into a few different categories:

Non-medical Remedies

If you prefer to avoid medications, you have a few options you can try first to treat your allergy symptoms. The most effective of these is finding your allergy triggers and avoiding them. For instance, if you are allergic to pollen, staying inside on high pollen count days can help you avoid allergy reactions. Many people are also able to help reduce exposure to allergens by changing their clothes as soon as they come home and by using HEPA filters on their home’s air conditioners and vacuums. Neti pots and other nasal irrigation tools can help with allergy symptoms, as well. First, these can help wash allergens out of your sinuses, reducing your exposure. Second, the saline solution used with these remedies can draw out fluids that cause inflammation. This, in turn, provides relief from congestion and reduces the likelihood of complications like a sinus infection.

Allergy Medicine

There are a number of over the counter and prescription medications that can help control allergy symptoms. Antihistamines can stop allergic reactions from happening, which helps you avoid allergy symptoms. You can also treat allergy symptoms like congestion with the help of decongestants, or treat sinus pain with NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen.

Long-Term Allergy Treatment

Do you suffer from allergy symptoms frequently? Do your allergies often lead to complications like sinus infections? Do you dislike the idea of taking medications on a frequent basis? You may wish to consider long-term options that can both reduce allergy symptoms and cut your reliance on medications.

Allergy shots and drops are a type of immunotherapy that can reduce your sensitivity to various allergens. They work through the application of tiny amounts of your allergy triggers. Over time, your body reacts less strongly to these allergens, or, not at all. While it can take three to five years to find complete relief, many people experience a reduction in allergy symptoms within the first year of treatment.

Sometimes, people’s allergy symptoms are related to problems with their sinuses. Many people have sinus passages that are blocked or too narrow to allow fluids to move smoothly. People with these sorts of issues are more likely to suffer from painful sinus headaches and sinus congestion during allergy season. They are also more likely to develop sinus infections. For these individuals, treatments like balloon sinuplasty can help.

No one treatment option is a good fit for everyone. What works for you will depend on the cause of your allergies, the severity of your symptoms and other factors.

Are seasonal allergies causing you misery? We can help you breathe better. Get in touch today and book an appointment.

Are You Getting Sick Or Is It Just Allergies?

Woman with allergies

Sniffing, sneezing, aches and pains… do you always seem to develop these symptoms around the same time every year? While many people always assume that respiratory symptoms are the sign of a seasonal cold, there’s a chance it is allergy related instead. Many people have allergic reactions to plants that bloom at a certain time of year, for instance. Others may have mold allergies that flare up each year when weather conditions align perfectly for spores to grow. Understanding the source of your respiratory symptoms can help you get the right treatment so that you can breathe better and enjoy better health.

It Might Be a Cold If…

Colds are caused by exposure to viruses. Often, if you are getting sick right around the time others in your school or office are, this can point to the problem being a cold. You may also be suffering from a cold if you have general aches and pains throughout your body. Colds are sometimes accompanied by fevers, as well, while allergy attacks aren’t. A sore throat and a cough can sometimes be suffered by people who have allergies; however, these symptoms are far more common with colds.

Signs That It Might Be Allergies

Allergies are a reaction to irritants in your environment. Pollen, animal dander, mold, and dust are common triggers. If you suffer from respiratory symptoms after exposure to any of these, allergy reactions can be to blame.

Symptoms of allergies typically include sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose with clear fluid. You may also experience fatigue, and a stuffy nose, but these are also common cold symptoms.

If you find your symptoms improve when taking allergy medicine such as antihistamines, there is a good chance your problems are caused by allergies. Antihistamines block the production of histamine in your system, which interrupts the signals that bring on allergy symptoms.

The Best Ways to Deal with Colds and Allergies

The good news about the misery of a cold is that it does not last long. In most cases, you should feel better within 7 to 10 days. While you are still suffering, you can ameliorate symptoms by taking over the counter pain relievers and decongestants. Drink plenty of fluids and get rest while you recover. If a cold progresses into a sinus infection, treatment from your doctor may be needed.

Allergies, however, are an ongoing issue. They will occur each time you are exposed to the allergens that are causing you grief. Thankfully, there are many good allergy treatment options available today. Many people find relief with over the counter antihistamines. However, if you have severe or frequent allergies, it may make sense to seek a longer-term treatment such as allergy shots or allergy drops.

Many people find their allergy or cold symptoms are exacerbated by sinus issues. If you have narrow or blocked sinus passages, a procedure like balloon sinuplasty can help.

Here, at American Sinus Institute, we can diagnose the source of your symptoms and help you find relief. Get in touch today for a consultation.

Dealing with Year-Round Allergy Triggers

Couple suffering from year-around allergy.

It seems there is something to set off your allergy symptoms at every time of year here in San Antonio. Year-round allergy triggers, nearly every season brings a different blooming plant, meaning that people whose symptoms of allergies are triggered by pollen have something new to contend with. Spring rains and damp winters lead to highly allergenic mold and mildew. The mild climate means it’s always time for outdoor activities, which can mean exposure to animal dander and dust. Luckily, year-round allergy sufferers have more options than ever before for combating and even eliminating their symptoms.

Over the Counter Remedies for your Year-round allergy triggers.

Many people are able to get relief from daily allergies by taking over the counter antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids. Newer antihistamines do not pass through the blood brain barrier like older antihistamines did. This means you can get allergy relief without dealing with drowsiness.

Nasal steroids can also be taken daily to reduce your reaction to allergens and to curb common allergy symptoms. By taking them each day, you can inhibit allergic reactions before they occur.

However, some people find these remedies work for them for a little while, but then stop being effective. Some people find commonly available OTC medications are not effective for them, at all. Still others wish to avoid the use of daily medications in general. For these individuals, the assistance of an allergist and sinus expert can help them identify options that do not involve the use of daily OTC medications.

Dealing with Narrow Sinus Passages

In some cases, it is not allergies themselves that cause suffering; it is the complications that come with them. Some people find allergies lead to painful and inconvenient congestion, for instance. These people may suffer difficulty breathing, frequent sinus headaches and other issues. In some cases, frequent allergy attacks can lead to chronic sinusitis. This is a painful condition that can interfere with sleep, work and your enjoyment of daily life.

For these individuals, treatments like balloon sinuplasty can be an effective remedy to allergy complications. During balloon sinuplasty treatments, narrow sinus passages are opened up to increase air flow and allow the passage of fluids. When the passages are unblocked, the result is fewer sinus infections and other sinus problems associated with allergies.

Ending Allergy Sensitivity for Good

In the past, allergy shots were the only solution if you wanted to desensitize yourself to common allergens. However, today many people are finding relief with sublingual immunotherapy instead. These allergy drops offer the same well-tested medication that is in allergy shots. However, instead of an injection, sublingual allergy drops use a small amount of the allergen applied under the tongue, instead. The treatment can be conveniently applied at home, cutting down on office visits. After consistent treatment for a number of months, you will begin to see a reduction in your allergy symptoms. Some people find they are no longer sensitive to their allergens at all after consistent long-term treatment.

Allergies have you miserable all throughout the year wondering “what is causing my allergies?” We can offer allergy treatment that helps. Get in touch today for an appointment to discuss options that include allergy testing, allergen immunotherapy and more.

5 Benefits of Allergy Testing

Woman suffering from allergies.

Allergies are nothing to sneeze at. While many people who do not suffer from allergies consider them a minor inconvenience at worst, people who deal with them daily understand how they can complicate daily activities. Learning more about your allergy triggers can empower you to choose an allergy treatment that works for you and allows you to live your life to the fullest. A few of the reasons to seek out allergy testing:

You can learn what your allergy triggers are.

Many people just know they have nasal allergies, but don’t know what causes their allergy reactions. Identifying what makes you sneeze and what doesn’t can allow you to breathe better and enjoy your life more fully. The allergy testing is quick and easy, and can be done right here in our office.

You can eliminate suspected allergy triggers.

Have you never had a cat because you had allergies? If a pet is something you yearn for but have avoided, allergy testing can give you some hopeful answers. You may learn, for instance, you are allergic to cats but not dogs, or vice versa. By identifying what you are not allergic to, you can plan a life that is maximally fulfilling without suffering from allergic reactions.

You can better avoid the triggers for your allergies.

Doctors recommend, whenever possible, you avoid the allergens that trigger allergic reactions in you. For people allergic to pollen, this can mean staying indoors during high pollen times of the day or year. For people who are allergic to animals, it can mean taking allergy medicine before visiting a friend with pets. For those who are allergic to dust mites, relief can be as simple as changing to a dust mite proof pillow case and mattress pad. Knowing can help you feel better and breathe better throughout the year.

You can choose a treatment option that fits your health and your life.

For some people who have only a few, easily avoidable triggers, pairing avoidance with an over the counter allergy medicine can be an adequate plan for finding allergy relief. For those who are allergic to more ubiquitous triggers, however, relief may come in the form of prescription medications, a process like balloon sinuplasty or sublingual allergy drops or shots. By identifying what is causing your symptoms, you can find treatment that provides relief without overtreating.

You can remove uncomfortable complications from your life.

Do you find you get frequent head colds or sinus infections? Do allergies keep you from enjoying the activities you like? Do you suffer from sore throats and interrupted sleep? Allergies can be behind a number of complications that can cost you days at work, participation in social events and a general feeling of health and well-being. By identifying what is causing allergies, you can eliminate both them and common complications. Relief may be as simple as changing your habits or adding a low-side effect medication.

Are you ready to take better control of your health and your symptoms? We can help you understand your health better with an allergy test. Get in touch today for an appointment.

 

Allergy Drops vs Shots: Which is the best choice for you?

Person getting their pulse checked by a doctor.

Most people are aware that allergies can be improved or even cured with immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots. However, many people are not aware that this is not their only option. For many years, immunotherapy has also been available in the form of sublingual drops. Each form of immunotherapy has benefits and drawbacks. By assessing the pros and cons of each, you can pick the therapy option that works best for you.

Do Allergy Shots and Drops Work?

People who suffer from allergies often have to deal with symptoms that can include headaches, watery eyes, sneezing, or a runny nose. If you have asthma, allergies can aggravate it. Many people with allergies also often have complications like chronic sinusitis.

Both allergy shots and drops have a long track record of safe and effective use. Treatment can reduce allergy symptoms and reliance on medication. Both therapies use small amounts of allergens to gradually desensitize you to substances that cause your allergic reactions. People who have undergone immunotherapy treatment often find that they are less prone to allergy attacks. This, in turn, can also reduce other issues such as sinus infection and chronic sinusitis.

The Pros and Cons of Allergy Shots

Allergy shots have been around for a long time. For over 100 years, doctors have been giving patients small doses of antigens through injections in a bid to reduce patients’ sensitivity to allergens. Many people wonder, do allergy shots work? The answer is, for most people, they either completely eliminate or strongly reduce allergy sensitivities. However, it can take as long as three to five years for either allergy shots or drops to work.

Because they are an established treatment, allergy shots are typically covered by insurance, which makes them a more affordable option for some patients. However, some people find the frequent clinic visits required during allergy shot treatment inconvenient.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Allergy Drops

Allergy drops involve the same medications that are used in allergy shots. However, instead of being injected, allergy drops are administered as sublingual immunotherapy. Each day, a drop is administered under the tongue.

Allergy drops allow you to make fewer clinic visits than allergy shots. They also allow you to avoid injections; if you find allergy shots painful or if you are afraid of needles, this can be a huge benefit.

As with any treatment option, there are also drawbacks to allergy drops. Allergy drops are considered an off-label use of FDA-approved antigen medication. Because of this, your insurance may not cover the cost of the drops. However, they may cover the cost of your office visits and allergy testing. If you have a Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account, these funds can be used to pay for allergy drop treatment.

In the end, each choice has factors that could make it the right choice for you. Make an appointment today to talk to our doctors and learn which can be the best fit to help reduce allergy symptoms and find lasting relief.

OTC Allergy Medicine Doesn’t Work Anymore. What Now?

assorted medicine

It can be extremely frustrating: just as Houston’s allergy season is getting into gear, you find your trusted over the counter (OTC) medication is not providing the relief you’d received from it in the past. What causes this and what can you do? Understanding more about your allergies can help you find answers when you can’t get over the counter allergy relief.

Why Do Allergy Medications Stop Working?

In some cases, over the counter allergy medications stop working because your body has built up a resistance to your usual remedy. However, it is far more common for other changes in your life or your body to be the culprit behind the change.

Sometimes, the answer is that you are being exposed to more or different allergens than you were before. For instance, many allergies in San Antonio are seasonal. These will get worse when allergenic pollen is present in the air in greater quantities. Additionally, some allergy years are worse than others.

Changing your routine can also lead to an increase in allergy symptoms. A new pet, a new job or moving to a new neighborhood can mean exposure to allergens you did not come into as much contact with before.

Finally, sometimes we develop new allergies as we age. Some triggers may not have been a problem for you before, could become serious irritants later on. While this phenomenon is well-documented, we still don’t quite understand how the body gets sensitized to new allergens.

What to Do When You Can’t Find Relief

If your current allergy medication is not working for you, you have several options that can help you get back to feeling like yourself. Some people find they can get relief by switching from one over the counter medication to another. Someone who, for instance, is no longer getting relief from a first generation medication like Benadryl, may have more luck with a second generation option like Zyrtec or Allegra.

If your allergies are seasonal, you may be able to get through the season using remedies like neti pots and saline irrigation. These wash irritants out and reduce your exposure that way. They can also help you find relief when allergy attacks lead to a complication like a sinus infection.

There are also alternative solutions to provide long-term relief. At American Sinus Institute, we conduct allergy testing to help you identify and avoid allergy triggers, or come up with a treatment plan. Allergy shots and sublingual immunotherapy drops can reduce your sensitivity, which can reduce or even resolve your allergies. If your allergies are associated with sinus infections, you also have the option of balloon sinuplasty to open up sinus channels and prevent congestion.

If you are finding your allergies are getting worse instead of better, you do not have to just live with the suffering. Contact us to learn more about the treatment options that could work best for you.

Summer Allergens in Texas: What to do?

female sneezing in flower field

The climates in both San Antonio and Houston, Texas are different from what you might expect in other parts of the country. We are far enough south with a hot enough climate for both summer allergies and year-round allergies to play a role in our general health and well-being. However, forewarned is still forearmed.

Why Are Allergens a Big Deal?

Many people think summer allergies are just some inconvenient sneezing and sniffling. While these are both common summer allergy symptoms, they are not the only ones most people experience. In addition, allergy symptoms can include sinus congestion, post nasal drip, eye irritation and more. When these symptoms become severe, they can also bring complications. Allergies, in fact, are among the top sinus infection causes. If you find you suffer multiple sinus infections every summer in Texas, allergies may be to blame.

What Are Some Common Texas Summer Allergens?

In Texas, there are allergens year-round. However, some people may have worse symptoms in the summer because that is when their personal triggers come into play. Some common allergens in Texas in the summer include:

Mold: Rainy weather means damp conditions. Mold spores are constantly part of the environment in Texas. However, they get a chance to grow in the damp and warm conditions of a Texas summer. Plus, high temperatures mean spending more time indoors. When you are locked in with mold, you are more likely to get exposed.

Grasses: Blue grass, bermuda, timothy grass and others come into bloom this time of year. Mow often if these are present in your yard. Keeping them short can keep them from flowering.

Weeds: Pigweed, ragweed, sagebrush and others are all blooming in the summer in Texas.

Ozone: While this is not a specific cause of summer allergies, this pollutant can make allergies worse. The combination of high heat, sunlight and hydrocarbons in the air all increase ozone levels.

Handling Texas Summer Allergies

In most cases, avoiding allergens is the first line of defense against allergy attacks. Look at pollen levels each day; when they are high, try to stay indoors during midday, which is the worst part of the day for allergens.

You can also take an active approach to limiting your reactions to allergens that are present. Steroids and antihistamines can help alleviate allergy attacks, or even prevent them. You can also take a more long term approach by seeking out allergy testing, allergy shots or sublingual allergy drops. By determining your triggers and inoculating yourself against them, you can significantly reduce your allergy symptoms. Most people who take allergy shots or drops report a reduction in symptoms within the first year. Many experience full recovery within three to five years. Consistent treatment over time is key. Treatments like balloon sinuplasty can also be helpful when sinus issues play a part in allergy symptoms.

Texas summer have you sneezing? We can help. Contact us today. We’ll identify the cause of your symptoms and get you back to full health.

5 Myths About Allergies

female blowing her nose with tissue because of allergies.

While many in the Houston area suffer from nasal allergies, there are still a lot of myths and misunderstandings about them. In some cases, the myths are relatively harmless. In others, they can prevent people from getting the relief that they need. By developing a better understanding of what causes your allergies and the best ways to treat them, you can increase your chances of finding lasting relief. Don’t be taken in by any of these common allergy myths.

1. If you have allergies, you have allergies for life.

It’s common for people to believe that having childhood allergies means having allergies for life. People also often mistakenly believe that allergies are fixed and cannot develop in adults. Neither of these are true across the board. While many kids outgrow their allergies, many others continue to suffer from allergy symptoms even as they age. Many adults, on the other hand, may dismiss allergy symptoms as a passing cold if they have never suffered from allergies before.

2. Allergies are harmless.

Anyone who has allergies has also, at some point, had to put up with someone who thought their allergies were no big deal. Whether it was a boss who wouldn’t accept a severe allergy attack as a reason for a sick day or someone who described severe symptoms as “just allergies,” it can be very frustrating.

Allergies can be very serious on their own. They can also lead to complications like sinus infection that will require additional treatment. By taking allergies seriously, you can minimize your symptoms and the chances of developing additional issues.

3. Eating honey will cure allergies.

Many people mistakenly believe that local honey can help desensitize them to the allergens in their local area. However, this turns out to be more myth than fact. In general, the flowers that bees collect pollen from are not the same ones that are making your eyes red and itchy when San Antonio’s worst offenders are in bloom. The pollen that causes allergies typically comes from trees, which are not typically bee-pollinated.

4. Short-haired breeds of pets won’t cause allergies; long-haired breeds always will.

When it comes to animal allergies, hair length is not a factor. This is because pet hair or fur are not the allergens; instead, sensitive individuals react to dead skin cells (also known as dander), dried saliva and animal urine. While some breeds are historically less allergenic than others, the differences have nothing to do with the type of fur.

5. There is no treatment for allergies.

Thousands of people have seen their allergy symptoms reduced or completely eliminated after undergoing allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy with allergy drops. The response does not occur overnight; rather, it occurs gradually over a period of years. With consistent treatment through a three to five year period, however, most people will see a dramatic improvement in their symptoms. In fact, most people see marked relief within the first year.

Ready to find lasting allergy relief? We can help. Book an appointment with American Sinus today to discuss the best treatment plan for you.

Are Allergy Drops a Good Choice for Me?

Doctor holding a clipboard filling charts.

There are many people who suffer from allergy symptoms that include itchy watery eyes, congestion and sneezing. Allergies are also one of the most common sinus infection causes. Allergy testing can reveal what is causing your symptoms. Most people believe they are limited to either daily allergy medications or a series of allergy shots to get relief. However, more and more people are finding a convenient, less invasive solution with the use of allergy drops.

What Are Allergy Drops?

Allergy drops are a sublingual treatment that contains the same sorts of antigens used in allergy shots. The drops are placed under the tongue, where they can be easily absorbed. Over time, allergy sufferers find that they are less sensitive to allergy triggers and able to enjoy favorite outdoor activities without severe allergy symptoms. Allergy drops are an effective treatment for a wide range of allergies, including allergies to food, mold, animals, dust mites and pollen.

Who is a Good Candidate for Allergy Drops?

Any allergy sufferer can use allergy drops once they have identified their allergens through allergy testing. However, this treatment is especially helpful for people who have not responded to allergy shots or who cannot tolerate this therapy. Allergy drops are especially good for people with asthma, those who are afraid of needles, very young patients and those who have multiple allergies.

What Are the Advantages of Choosing Allergy Drops?

Allergy drops can help you reduce or eliminate your reliance on over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines. This can spare you the expense of medications over time, as well as any associated side effects.

Allergy drops are administered at home rather than in a doctor’s office. This is far more convenient than allergy shots. Many people drop out of immunotherapy because of the long periods of regular visits. By using a treatment that you can take at home, you are better able to stay compliant with the treatment plan and see results.

Over time, as you become less sensitive to your allergens, you will find that you feel better than you did before immunotherapy. People who take allergy drops consistently report they get sick less often and have fewer sick days from work or school.

Are Allergy Drops Safe and Effective?

Allergy drops have been used for over 100 years. There have been a number of studies into their safety and effectiveness. The World Health Organization has given the treatment their stamp of approval and says this is a viable alternative to allergy shots. Researchers have confirmed individuals taking allergy drops have significantly fewer allergy symptoms.
No one allergy treatment is a good fit for every patient. Concerns that include effectiveness for each individual, cost and other considerations are part of the decision on which allergy treatment to choose. At American Sinus Institute, we work with you to identify your allergy triggers and develop an appropriate course of treatment. Do you think allergy drops could be a good option for you? Get in touch to make an appointment.

Can Allergy Shots Give You Relief?

person receiving an allergy shot.

Do you find you suffer from itchy eyes, sneezing and congestion every allergy season? Perhaps you have had allergy testing and learned pollen, mold or another common allergen is causing your symptoms. Tired of suffering and want to cut your reliance on daily medication? It may be time to consider allergy shots.

What Are Allergy Shots?

Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy. The shots include tiny amounts of specific substances that trigger allergic reactions. These injections are administered on a regular basis in order to reduce your sensitivity to antigens that have historically caused you to have an allergic reaction.

The shots start with a small dose. The amount that is in each shot is gradually increased over time as you become less sensitive to the allergen.

Allergy shots can be a great alternative for many allergy sufferers. They can help people whose symptoms are typically not well controlled using over the counter or prescription medication. They are also a good option for individuals who have severe allergy problems such as asthma or frequent complications. For instance, allergies are one of the top sinus infection causes. If you suffer sinus infections regularly as a result of your allergies, allergy shots can help.

At each visit, you will be given a shot, and then observed for a period of time after your treatment. Most people tolerate allergy shots well and experience few or no side effects. In some cases, people experience allergic reactions after their shots. If you are not feeling well on a day you have an allergy shot scheduled, talk to your doctor about whether to proceed. You can also reduce the chances of a reaction by taking it easy for a few hours after your treatment. Avoiding vigorous exercise can reduce the chances of a reaction.

Do Allergy Shots Really Work?

Allergy shots do not work overnight. There may be some time between the beginning of treatment and when you begin to experience results. Allergy treatment comes in two phases: the first ramp-up up phase, where the amount of medication given is smaller. The second is the maintenance phase, where you are given shots about once a month to gradually desensitize your body.
Most people report improvement within the first year of getting allergy shots. In some cases, your doctor may be able to use a method known as “rush immunotherapy.” In this alternative, the build up phase is done more quickly, involving several injections during every visit. This method can provide relief more quickly, but it can also increase the chances of a severe allergic reaction.

How Long is the Treatment?

Allergy shot treatments typically last anywhere from three to five years. Many people report that, after a few years of treatment, they no longer have significant allergy issues. Some people are able to stop taking allergy medications altogether. In other cases, people will still suffer occasional allergy attacks, but will find their symptoms are far less severe.
Allergy shots can provide lasting relief from your symptoms. Think they could be a good option for you? Contact us today for a consultation, and we will discuss treatment.

Are You a Candidate for Allergy Testing?

allergy testing needle

Do you find you spend a lot of time sniffling and sneezing? Do you seem to get a head cold the same time of year every year? While many people mistake their symptoms for a spring cold, it is more likely they have allergies. Allergies cause many of the symptoms people associate with colds. They are also one of the most common sinus infection causes. If you suffer from head colds, congestion, sinus headaches and other ills, allergy testing can help you learn the cause of your symptoms so you can start finding relief.

Who Should Get Allergy Testing?

Allergy testing is a good option for people who find they are having allergy symptoms. Common nasal allergy symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, sneezing, congestion and others.

How Are Allergy Tests Performed?

In most cases, allergy testing is performed using a skin test. A small amount of an allergen is applied to a plastic needle that is then used to lightly prick the skin. The needle is extremely fine; most people feel, at worst, a mild irritation. With the latest testing methods, your doctor can check for allergies to up to 40 known allergens at once. We’ll check for sensitivity to the most common allergy triggers, such as pollen, dust mites, mold and foods. After the test, your doctor will inspect the tested areas to look for reactions. A raised welt or red mark can indicate an allergy.

In some cases, people who are taking certain medications cannot get conclusive results from skin tests. People suffering certain types of rashes may also be unable to use a skin test to get allergy testing results. In these cases, a blood test can provide information about your allergies.

What Happens After the Allergy Test?

After the test, your doctor will talk about the allergens that were discovered. From there, you will develop a treatment plan to help manage your allergies effectively. What treatment is right for you is highly individual. Some people just need to take an antihistamine or other treatment during allergy season. Others may find a daily treatment year round is the best way to find relief. Still others will opt for treatments that can range from balloon sinuplasty to allergy shots.

In addition, your doctor may discuss methods for minimizing allergy symptoms. For instance, staying indoors on high pollen count days and changing your clothes as soon as you return home can help you avoid exposure to allergens. Other choices can include choosing low allergen pets and taking an antihistamine before times you know you’ll be exposed to your allergens.

If you are experiencing allergy symptoms, you do not need to suffer. By learning what is causing your symptoms, you can create a plan to get relief. We work with patients to create customized care that fits your allergies and your life. Are you ready to find relief? Get in touch today to learn whether allergy testing can be beneficial for you.

How Texas Weather Can Affect Your Allergies

texas allergies

The heat and humidity in Texas can leave you sweaty and dripping, running indoors to find relief. However, a desire to be inside with the air conditioning is not the only effect of Texas weather. As anyone with sinus or allergy symptoms knows, Texas weather can lead to big Texas allergies.

Humidity and Allergies

Hot and muggy days can make it a lot harder to breathe. This can be especially true for people with allergies. The high temperatures can also mean that your body is working a lot harder to keep cool, making other physical processes more difficult.

People whose nasal passages are blocked because of sinus inflammation will be especially prone to breathing difficulties during humid weather. You may also find that you have problems breathing during the heat if you suffer from asthma.

Indoor Allergy Issues

While high humidity can be an issue, some of the solutions for it can be just as bad for allergy sufferers. If you spend a lot of time indoors avoiding outdoor weather, you can wind up exposing yourself to air that is too dry. And, it is not uncommon to bring outdoor allergens in. Pollen and dander, for instance, can hitch a ride on air currents and clothing, then settle on furniture and bedding. Changing clothes when you get home and using high-quality filters on your home’s HVAC units can reduce the chance of encountering allergens when you are indoors.

High Temperatures and High Pollen Counts

In other parts of the country, allergy sufferers get a reprieve during the colder winter months. Here in Texas, our growing seasons last year-round. As a result, there is nearly always something blooming and releasing pollen into the air.

Pollen counts for some allergens are still somewhat seasonal. Certain allergenic trees, for instance, usually bloom in the winter. Grasses release pollen in spring. Ragweed blooms in late summer and early fall. Learning which types of pollen you are most susceptible to can make it easier to stay comfortable throughout the year.

During high pollen count times of the year, try staying indoors during the day and engaging in outdoor activities after dark. Pollen counts and wind levels drop at night, which means that you are less likely to suffer from pollen-related allergy attacks.

Damp Climates and Mold

Pollen is not the only allergen that can cause allergy sufferers misery. Mold is also a very common trigger for Texas allergies. Mold spores are nearly always present in just about every environment. These spores linger unseen until they find the right combination of moisture and warmth and can grow.

During heavy rains, there is almost always dead vegetation that can be a host to allergenic mold and mildew. Inside homes, mold finds hospitable growing environments in damp cellars and in closets, crawlspaces and even bathrooms with inadequate ventilation.

If you are suffering from frequent allergy attacks, we can help. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating allergies. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your options.

What Makes Your Seasonal Allergies Worse

seasonal allergies

We take pride in things being bigger and better in Texas. But bigger is not always better, of course, such as when you consider the unpleasant symptoms that people experience because of seasonal allergies. Allergens can be responsible for a range of reactions, such as causing a patient to sneeze profusely, have a runny nose or stuffed nose and experience itchy or painful sinuses.

Whether you are a newcomer to Texas and have only just started feeling the effects of allergy season here or if you are a long-time resident trying to cope with the symptoms, you will want to take steps to minimize them. It’s always prudent to have seasonal allergy remedies available so you can take them as soon as they’re needed. Otherwise, you’ll continue to feel stuffy and inflamed. With that in mind, it would be a good idea for you to become familiar with things that can make your seasonal allergies even worse.

Reasons Your Seasonal Allergies May Be Worse

Becoming more familiar with the causes of allergies will help you avoid experiencing the worst symptoms. Approximately 50 million people in America currently suffer from seasonal allergies, according to a report from Prevention magazine, which included details on things that can make your seasonal allergies worse:

  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Each drink containing alcohol can increase your risk of getting allergic rhinitis by 3 percent. Researchers theorize that bacteria and yeast in alcohol cause people to produce allergy-symptom causing histamines.
  • Failure to Take Allergy Medications on Time: If you rely on antihistamines to curb allergy symptoms, you won’t get proper relief if you don’t take them before exposure to allergens. Follow the drug manufacturer’s instructions and consider setting a daily alarm on your smartphone to remind you to take allergy medication.

    seasonal allergies medication

  • Inadequate Laundry Hygiene: If you do not use hot water to wash your bed sheets, chances are you are not killing all the dust mites (which provoke allergic reactions). Water heated to 140 degrees F will kill 100 percent of dust mites while water kept at the warm setting of 104 F would only kill 6.5 percent of the mites.
  • Indoor Swimming Pool: The chlorine people add to pools is designed to keep the water disinfected, but this chemical will irritate your respiratory tract. Wear a mask while swimming to avoid this source of irritation.

    seasonal allergies pool

  • Too Much Stress: Stress hormones that increase in production while you are on deadline at school or work will tend to exacerbate the effects of seasonal allergies. What’s more, if added stress is interfering with your sleep patterns, you should be aware that lack of sleep is another intensifier of allergy symptoms.

When Medications Fail to Help

If over-the-counter and prescription medications are not doing enough to help you deal with the symptoms of seasonal allergies, you may be at your wit’s end trying to find relief. You will be glad to know that an FDA-approved procedure called balloon sinuplasty has been available here for many years.

A physician simply places a balloon into your sinus cavity, and then it’s just a matter of inflating it gently so it reshapes your nasal passages, which serves to bring you relief from sinus discomfort and pain. For details about balloon sinuplasty or to set an appointment, please contact the American Sinus Institute today.

Surviving Sinusitis with Pet Allergies

sinusitis pet allergies

You love spending time with your pet, but does it seem like it’s causing an allergic reaction? It can be difficult to live with pet allergies, especially when you love pets. You’re not alone. Approximately 31 million individuals experience sinusitis or sinus infection every year, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Of course, you don’t want to have to give up your beloved animal companions, but you also can’t stand to see anyone in your home suffering from sinusitis with pets. The trick is in seeing if you can find reliable relief for pet allergies before sinusitis forces you to part ways with the animal.

How to Handle Sinusitis Symptoms Caused by Pets

Whether you have recently welcomed a new pet into your home or have been putting up with pet allergy symptoms for some time now, getting relief for allergies is going to be a high priority. People who experience pet allergies while sinusitis symptoms are occurring would be right to wonder whether they can continue to live at home with animal companions.

Unlike seasonal allergies, where you experience sinusitis during periods when the plants are putting out their allergens, pet dander can provoke allergic reactions throughout the year, underscoring the importance of tackling pet allergies inside your home.

You options to address sinusitis from pet allergies include:

  • Antihistamines and corticosteroids can temporarily help to reduce inflammation in sinusitis provoked by pets. In some cases, patients may get allergy shots to address the problem.
  • Get a hypoallergenic cat or dog. This is for people who do not have an allergy-provoking pet now and who do not want to chance having an allergic reaction. However, you cannot guarantee that a so-called hypoallergenic animal will not provoke an allergic response in every person it encounters.
  • Use a saline wash (irrigate your nasal passages with a gentle solution) to eliminate the thickening and accumulating secretions.
  • Steam treatment will also help to irrigate your sinus passages. Try doing it at least 3 times a day when symptoms arise.
  • Install a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) air filtration system to be used with your home’s ventilation, air conditioning and heating equipment. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions about how often you should clean reusable filters or replace single-use filters and mark a reminder in your calendar for best results.

What to Do When These Remedies Don’t Help Your Sinusitis

If anyone in your family has been struggling with pet allergies that lead to painful sinusitis, consider coming in for treatment with balloon sinuplasty.

The American Sinus Institute specializes in balloon sinuplasty, offering sinus relief for patients in San Antonio and the greater Houston, Texas area. This procedure is safe and less invasive than traditional sinus surgery. It requires a doctor inflating a balloon inside your sinuses to correct the shape of the passages. To request an appointment, call us today.

New to Texas? Learn About Common Seasonal Texas Allergies

texas allergies flag

Texas continues to be a very popular destination among people from all walks of life. In fact, Texas has consistently held the record for the largest annual growth in population from 2010 to 2016, the last year for which official statistics are available. The state of Texas has been growing by approximately 211,000 people per year, according to the Census bureau. With so many transplants arriving in Texas every year from different regions, newcomers may not be used to the common Texas allergies that many locals are already accustomed to.

About Seasonal Texas Allergies

About 10% of the population of the United States suffers from allergies, and Texas is no exception. Major cities in Texas, including McAllen and San Antonio are among the worst in the country for people suffering from allergies.

  • Winter: In some locations in the U.S., allergies disappear during the frigid months of winter. But the opposite is the case in Texas, where winter is the worst season for allergens. The state is known for annual cases of cedar fever, which are allergies provoked by cedar trees, sometimes so strongly that victims think they have a case of the flu.

texas allergies cedar

  • Spring: Allergies tend to occur nationwide during the spring. The main cause of spring allergens is pollen from oak trees. To a lesser extent, other allergen-producing trees include cottonwood, elm, ash and pecan.

texas allergies oak

  • Summer: Allergy sufferers in Texas are typically reacting to grasses, including Bahia, Bermuda, Orchard, Sweet Vernal and Timothy. You will often encounter these grasses on the side of the road, lots and other abandoned areas.

texas allergies grass

  • Fall: Ragweed is a major allergen affecting Texas residents during fall. Temperate areas in Texas will often experience strong reactions to ragweed because the plants grow more freely, emitting as many as one billion pollen grains each season.

texas allergies ragweed

Coping With Allergy Season in Texas

When it’s allergy season in Texas, you’ll know soon enough, without needing to consult the news for the latest allergies forecast. There are steps you can take to minimize the effects of allergens, including:

  • Replace carpeting with floors in your home. It’s easier to sweep away allergens than to vacuum them up (vacuuming can spread more allergens)
  • Try over-the-counter allergy medication.
  • Use prescribed medication recommended by your physician.
  • Irrigate your nasal passages with a warm water solution from a neti pot.

Still Suffering From Allergies in Texas?

If standard over-the-counter allergy medications are not proving effective in combating your body’s reactions to common allergens in Texas, there’s no need for you to suffer. Many patients find it beneficial to treat their sinus issues stemming from allergies by undergoing a safe and minimally invasive procedure known as balloon sinuplasty.

This procedure is quite safe and has been approved by the FDA for treating patients in the United States. The surgeon inserts a balloon into the nasal cavity and then inflates it gently to reshape the passages, providing relief. To learn more about the balloon sinuplasty approach or to make an appointment with the American Sinus Institute, please get in touch with us today.

How You and Your Family Can Live With Pet Allergies

managing your pet allergies

You consider your pet to be a part of the family. Unfortunately, you’ve discovered that at least one member of your family is actually allergic to pets. Now you are trying to figure out how you can live with pet allergies, or more specifically, how to coexist with a pet despite the fact that it is causing unpleasant allergy symptoms.

People who suffer from allergies should know they’re not alone. About 3 out of 10 individuals have allergies to dogs or cats, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergies to cats occur about twice as often as allergies to dogs.

Symptoms of Pet Allergies

A range of symptoms can occur when you have an allergy to your animal companion, including:

  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Rash or hives on skin
  • Pain in the face (due to congested nasal passages)

Dog allergens are located in urine, saliva, dander and dog hair. Cat allergens can be found in the animal’s saliva, skin and fur. So, it’s no wonder that you will start to experience an allergic reaction just by petting your beloved dog or cat.

Managing Your Pet Allergies

To avoid unpleasant allergic reactions, there are things you can do to manage your pet allergies starting today.

Begin by installing an air filter for use with your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Take note of how often replaceable filters must be changed and mark the date on your calendar to avoid clogging the filter and causing your HVAC system to work harder than it should.

Give your dog or cat baths on a regular basis.

If your home has carpeting, consider removing it, since it’s easier to sweep floors clean of allergens than it would be to vacuum them away. You should also vacuum upholstery.

Start taking allergy symptom medication, available over the counter at your pharmacy. If conventional allergy medicine doesn’t work, you can visit your doctor for a prescription allergy medication.

Coping with pet allergens can be difficult, especially when symptoms seem to worsen even when you try using stronger medications and are vigilant about keeping the home clean and free of clutter.

Stop Suffering From Pet Allergy Sinus Problems

Sometimes allergies caused by exposure to pets do not respond well to standard allergy symptom methods of treatment, such as using medications (prescribed by a doctor or something milder available over the counter at the pharmacy) or inhaling steam.

If you have been experiencing nasal discomfort because of an allergic reaction to your pet, there is no need to choose between which gets to stay in the home and who must leave. Texas residents with sinus problems can now take advantage of balloon sinuplasty.

This procedure was granted approval by the FDA in 2005 and is available now at the American Sinus Institute. You can take advantage of balloon sinuplasty, which uses a balloon inserted into the nasal cavity to inflate and adjust the nasal passageway with no need for a surgeon’s knife. Please contact us for an appointment today.

The Six Weirdest Allergens on Earth

weirdest allergens featured image

When most of us suffer a bout of itching eyes and a runny nose, the allergy trigger is something common, such as pet dander or pollen. However, some people have unusual allergies that are triggered by the weirdest allergens. How many of these surprising allergens were you aware of?

1. Sunlight

We’re not talking about people whose sneeze reflex is triggered by bright light. “That is actually a common phenomenon called the “photic sneeze reflex” and it is not an actual allergy,” says Dr. Shah. People who are allergic to sunlight, on the other hand, have skin that is so sensitive to sun that even mild exposure to light can leave them with dangerous rashes. In severe cases, sufferers must remain indoors in dark rooms to avoid light.

weirdest allergens allergic to sun

2. Vibrations

This is another allergy caused not by a substance, but by movements. People who have vibratory angioedema can develop painful rashes when exposed to vibrations. The vibrations can be caused by a loudspeaker, a running motor or anything else that moves rapidly against the skin. Luckily, this is one of the least common allergies in the world.

3. Exercise

Many of us joke that we’re allergic to the treadmill. For around one in one thousand people, however, exercise-induced anaphylaxis is not a joke. Individuals who suffer from this unusual allergy can experience nausea, vomiting, hives or rashes in response to exercise.

one of weirdest allergens is exercising

4. Meat

Allergies to milk or eggs are not at all uncommon. What is far more unusual, however, is an allergy to the animals that these products come from. At least one man has been shown to have allergies to pork, beef and lamb, as shown through a skin prick test. After consuming these products, he experienced severe allergic reactions. His doctors, as a result, recommended that he eliminate all meat from his diet. Even more unusually, he was shown to tolerate far more common allergens such as milk, mites and cats.

5. Your own child

Pregnancy comes with many discomforts, particularly in the third trimester. One of the more unusual ones involves developing an allergy to the baby the mother is carrying. Women who have the rare condition pemphigoid gestitionis develop a blister and rashes across their bellies and upper torsos. Their babies may also be born with a similar rash if they also have the condition. The rash and blisters typically go away a few months after birth.

weirdest allergens allergic to baby

6. The cold

Here’s one reason to love Texas’s climate, at least for some: a few rare individuals are actually allergic to the cold. When they are exposed to cold temperatures, they will experience symptoms that include itching and swelling in their skin. In extreme cases, exposure to mild cold temperatures can result in collapse and death.

While you may not be susceptible to the weirdest allergens, there are still many things in the Texas environment that can lead to sinus problems and nasal allergies. Are seasonal allergies causing you misery? We can help! Get in touch with American Sinus for an appointment today.

The Best Over-the-Counter Treatment Options for Allergies

over-the-counter treatment

When you are coping with constant sneezing, headache, a runny nose, an itchy throat and other allergy or sinus symptoms, you want relief right away. While you may need a doctor’s care to get lasting relief, there are many over-the-counter treatment options that can at least temporarily ease allergy symptoms. If seasonal or indoor allergies have you suffering, look to the allergy and sinus treatment choices below:

If you hate feeling drowsy….

… try one of the non-drowsy antihistamines that are available. Consumer Reports rates Loratadine and Fexofenadine as the best picks for convenience, effectiveness, cost and safety. These are all available as generics. “Pick either a brand name or generic version in the formula you like best,” says Dr. Shah.
Many individuals take these medications once a day as a prophylactic measure against allergy symptoms. Most are effective for 24 hours. You can take one in the morning if you plan to go hiking after work or if you know that later in the day you’ll be exposed to indoor allergens like animal dander or dust.

drowsy over-the-counter treatment

If you are experiencing sinus pain…

… you can get relief from products that combine a decongestant with a pain reliever. There are a number of versions available with either Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. Some may also include the chest congestion reliever Guaifenesin. If you are taking any other cold or allergy medications, read your labels carefully. Many remedies combine several medications in a single pill. It can be easy to accidentally take too much of any one medication.

Many people also find relief from sinus pain by taking either an over-the-counter painkiller or decongestant on its own. If you decide to take decongestants alone for sinus pain and pressure, taking them early is key. They are most effective if you take your medication at the first sign of sinus pressure.

pain over-the-counter treatment

If you are looking for medication-free relief…

… consider buying a Neti pot or another nasal irrigation device. These can usually be purchased in the drug store in the same area you can buy over-the-counter drugs for sinus and allergy troubles. A Neti pot uses a saline solution to flush your nasal cavities and reduce the inflammation that can contribute to congestion. The salt in the saline solution draws fluid out of tissues, which can provide soothing relief.
If you choose a Neti pot, always follow instructions. Use distilled water in the solution to avoid the possibility of contaminants or irritants. In studies, people found relief by using a Neti pot daily at first, then going to a few days a week once their symptoms resolved.

nasal irrigation over-the-counter treatment

While these over-the-counter treatment options can provide relief for many people, it’s not optimal to be on allergy medications every day. In addition, some people will need medical care to permanently defeat their allergy and sinus problems. Balloon Sinuplasty and other therapies can help with underlying issues that contribute to allergy woes to help reduce or eliminate the need for medications.

Plagued with chronic sinus or allergy problems? American Sinus Institute can help. Call for an appointment today.

What Are the Most Common Allergies in America?

common allergies

About 50 million people in the U.S. have some sort of nasal allergies. In 2015, a little less than one in ten individuals had diagnosed hay fever. While there are a wide array of allergy symptoms, the triggers for these symptoms are typically very similar. If you are one of the many Americans who have allergies, chances are good that you have one of these common allergies:

Weeds and Pollen

Weeds, grasses and the pollen they produce are the most common reason for people to reach for common allergy remedies. Since these tend to be seasonal allergies, many people do not realize they are allergic and instead mistake their symptoms for a cold. “If you find you develop a ‘spring cold’ every year without fail, your symptoms are more likely to be hay fever caused by pollen exposure,” says Dr. Shah.
For most people, limiting exposure is the best way to reduce the chance of allergy attacks from weeds and pollen. Check the pollen count before making plans for outdoor activities. You are most likely to see high levels of pollen on windy days.

pollen common allergies

Mold

Mold spores are everywhere, just waiting for a chance to grow. When they find a spot that is suitably damp, they’ll show up with telltale musty smells and black, powdery staining. Many people with allergies react to mold.
Mold is often first apparent through smell. You may also see visual signs either in the form of stains or in damp spots on walls and ceilings. Any area of your home that is not sufficiently dry, with ample air movement, can develop mold. It is most common in bathrooms, under sinks and in basements. If you find mold in your home, airing out the area where it’s found can help keep it from growing back.

mold common allergies

Dust Mites

Dust mites are too tiny to see with the naked eye; each one measures only about one-third of a millimeter in length. However, these tiny pests can cause big problems for allergy sufferers. Most thrive in Texas’s humid climate and make their homes in bedding, stuffed animals, carpets and furniture. If you suspect you have dust mites in your home, special pillowcases and mattress covers can help reduce your exposure.

dust common allergies

Animal Dander

We all love our furry friends, but our noses may not like the bits of skin and saliva that they can leave behind. The most well-known allergies are those to dogs and cats, but rats, bunnies and even horses can cause allergy symptoms.

Banning pets from the bedroom and changing clothes after animal exposure can help curb your allergy symptoms. Bathing your pet regularly and washing their bedding and toys can also cut down on levels of dander in the home.

pet common allergies

While allergies are common, living with allergy symptoms is not inevitable. Many people are able to find an effective allergy treatment after working with the doctors at American Sinus Institute. We can help identify your allergy triggers and work together with you to choose the right treatment path to provide lasting relief. Get in touch for a consultation today.

Don’t Fall for These Five Fake Allergy Remedies

allergy remedies featured

Allergy myths abound, especially at times of year that people are suffering from allergy symptoms. While most of the so-called allergy remedies are basically harmless, they may prevent you from seeking allergy treatment that could provide genuine, lasting relief. Tempted by an easy cure? Make sure it isn’t on the list below.

1. Eating honey will cure your allergies.

On its face, this myth seems to make sense. The principle of exposing a patient to tiny amounts of allergens is the basis of allergy shot treatments. And, bees collect pollen to make honey. However, the pollen that bees are collecting is rarely the pollen that causes hay fever symptoms. Most people react to pollen from trees or bushes. Since this is not the pollen that bees are using for honey, you are unlikely to see any health benefits to adding local honey to your diet.

honey allergy remedies

2. Drink apple cider vinegar for relief.

Many websites recommend drinking a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar to get allergy relief. While vinegar has dozens of culinary and household uses, it will not affect your allergy symptoms at all. This is true whether you are using a natural vinegar with the mother or conventional apple cider vinegar from the grocery store. There is no harm to drinking this apple cider vinegar tonic if you enjoy it, but any difference in your allergy symptoms is likely the placebo effect.

vinegar allergy remedies

3. Continued exposure to an animal you are allergic to will desensitize you.

While some people do become less sensitive to a particular allergen over time, the opposite effect is just as likely. Around one in three people who have allergies will react more strongly to a trigger over time and will require more treatment. The best way to avoid allergy symptoms is to avoid exposure to your trigger.

exposure allergy remedies

4. Chiropractic care can cure allergies.

There is research that shows that chiropractic care is good for back pain. However, no studies support the notion that chiropractic can cure any type of allergy. You are far better off seeking care from an allergy and sinus medical practitioner.

chiropractic allergy remedies

5. OTC remedies are just as effective as prescription.

Many people who suffer from periodic seasonal allergies do find relief with the use of over the counter medications. However, a far wider range of medications, often with fewer side effects, can be acquired with a prescription from your doctor. For instance, a nasal spray with a steroid can help you avoid sneezing and stuffy nose far more effectively than an OTC decongestant nasal spray. Additionally, the prescription spray is designed to be used daily and to give lasting relief. OTC sprays can cause a rebound effect when overused, and should not be used more than three days in a row. “We can recommend a treatment that has few side effects while providing the relief you need,” says Dr. Shah.

OTC allergy remedies

At American Sinus, we provide expert care and tested allergy remedies and other sinus issues. Tired of dealing with allergy symptoms? Get in touch. We’ll go over your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for lasting allergy relief.

How to Avoid Sinus Pressure When Traveling by Airplane  

comfortable-traveling-by-airplane-no-sinus-pressure

What could be worse than sitting next to a crying baby during your flight? If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having sinus pressure when traveling, you know how uncomfortable and even painful the experience can be. In fact, when travelers have severe symptoms, they sometimes postpone the trip until things clear up because it would be excruciating to fly in a pressurized cabin with severe congestion and swelling.

Whether your next airplane trip is for business or pleasure, here are a couple of methods you can use travel and breathe freely:

Things You Can Try at Home to Relieve Sinus Pressure When Traveling

A time-honored method to relieve sinus pressure is to drink a hot steaming bowl of soup, especially when the recipe comes from your grandmother’s kitchen. When soup is impractical, you can benefit from other hot liquids, such as a cup of herbal tea.

The rising steam from the cup and the warming liquid you drink help to stimulate the cilia in your mucus membranes to reduce congestion.

Some passengers find relief for their sinus problems by visiting an acupuncturist, an approach noted by a report from the U.S. government’s PubMed Health on treating chronic sinusitis.

Place a warm compress on your face. All you need to do is soak a towel in warm water, then squeeze out excess moisture and apply it to your face for about 5 minutes at a time.

Eat spicy food. This is a quick and easy way to unclog your painful sinus passages.

Just Prior to Boarding the Plane

Nasal decongestants, whether over-the-counter or prescribed by your physician can help reduce sinus issues while traveling by airplane, noted the Centers for Disease Control’s report on travelers’ health and air travel.

Of course, you must make sure that decongestants are not contraindicated when taking any other medications or herbal supplements. The CDC also pointed out that patients can resort to pain-relieving drugs as well as anti-inflammatory medications when sinus pain would otherwise be hard to bear.

Remember to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids while in flight, as hydration is key for avoiding irritation to the nasal passages.

If you’ve tried various remedies at home and on the plane only to be frustrated because they didn’t solve your painful sinus pressure when traveling, you’ll be glad to know that balloon sinuplasty, a relatively new method that has been approved by the FDA since 2005, is another option to relieve these symptoms. Balloon sinuplasty, a procedure available at the American Sinus Institute, involves a medical professional placing a small balloon into your sinus cavity. The balloon is then inflated to gently adjust the structure of your nasal passages.

To learn more about balloon sinuplasty benefits about this procedure or to set up an appointment, please connect with American Sinus Institute before you plan your next trip.

What You Should Expect from an Allergy Skin Test

sneezing allergy test

Many people who have chronic sinus issues are actually suffering from nasal allergies. Identifying your allergies is a key part of finding lasting relief. When it’s likely that a nasal allergy is behind your symptoms, an allergy skin test can help us learn your triggers and create a treatment plan for you.

What Happens During Testing?

The most common test for identifying allergies is the skin prick test. This test allows us to test you for allergic reactions to up to 40 substances at a time. Typically, the test will include the most common nasal and food allergies, such as mold, pollen, dust mites and pet dander.

The test does not hurt. The allergens are put on tiny lancets that just barely penetrate the skin’s surface. This does not cause bleeding. At worst, there is usually some mild discomfort. On adults, the test is usually done on your forearm. Children are usually tested on the skin of their upper backs.

child allergy skin test

We start by cleaning the test site with alcohol and then drawing small marks on your skin and applying allergens. Then, the lancet is used to allow the allergens to penetrate the skin’s surface. We’ll also typically apply histamine and either glycerin or saline to ensure that the test works properly. Histamine will almost always cause a skin reaction and the inert materials almost never do. By seeing your reactions to these, we can be sure that the test works on you.

In most cases, we’ll be done with the allergy skin test in 20 to 40 minutes. We’ll monitor your reaction to the test to see which substances cause a reaction. In some cases, a reaction will be seen in minutes. In others, a delayed reaction may develop over a period of a few days. Small wheals on your skin will develop where we have applied substances that trigger your allergies, allowing us to determine what triggers your symptoms.

What Do We Do with What We Learn?

We will discuss the results of your test and what we’ve learned about your allergy triggers.  From there, we can develop a treatment plan that will help you find lasting allergy relief.

Treatment of allergy symptoms almost always starts with conservative measures. In some cases, reducing or eliminating your exposure to an allergen will be part of your treatment. “For someone with dust mite allergies, this may involve using anti-dust mite coverings on pillows and washing bedding more frequently,” says Dr. Shah. Our doctor may also prescribe antihistamines and decongestants to reduce allergy symptoms.

antibiotics allergy skin test

In some cases, balloon sinusplasty can be the key to relief. By allowing sinus passages to drain more effectively, we can help you avoid painful sinusitis and allow other treatments to work more effectively.

Are you plagued by nasal allergies? You don’t have to suffer! We can find the cause of your symptoms and create a treatment plan that will allow you to feel more like yourself. Get in touch today for a consultation.

Dealing with Allergies in the Workplace

sneezing allergies

The seasonal allergies caused by pollen typically cause symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes and a scratchy throat. These symptoms not only make you feel miserable but having allergies in the workplace can kill your productivity at the office. Staying at home and taking medication during allergy season might be an effective method of handling a severe allergy, but it’s not always an option if you need to earn a living. The best strategies for dealing with allergies at work generally consist of minimizing your exposure to allergens.

Allergies in the Workplace

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that 50 million people in the United States have significant allergies to pollen. Allergy season generally corresponds to the time of year when most flowers and trees release their pollen. This period generally depends on your latitude, which determines the length and duration of spring. For most parts of the continental United States, allergic reactions are generally most common during late March, April and early May.

pollen allergies

However, this isn’t the only time of year that you can be affected these symptom, since it really depends on what your allergens are. While allergens are often some type of pollen, they also include other sources such as pets, mold and dust mites. Pets can cause allergies throughout the year, although the symptoms are likely to be most severe when they shed in the spring. Allergies to mold and dust mites depend more on environmental conditions that favor the growth of these organisms.

Effect on Productivity

Allergic symptoms generally reduce worker productivity in two ways. First, they interrupt your work when you have to constantly perform other activities such as blowing your nose or pumping nasal spray. Second, these symptoms can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, which impairs your ability to perform mentally challenging tasks at work. In addition, oral antihistamines can offer allergy help, but they can also make you feel drowsy. The combination of these factors often causes your productivity to take a nosedive.

tired worker allergies

Many studies show the effect of allergies on worker productivity. For example, a 2014 study published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that allergies cost business in the United States about $250 million per year. A 2001 study in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine also estimated that the use of antihistamines could result in a 25 percent reduction in productivity for two weeks each year.

Allergy Strategies

Strategies for avoiding your exposure to allergens primarily depend on the type of allergen. Use a portable filter to help remove pollen from the air. Ask your office manager to install high-efficiency filters in the air system and remove the carpet from your cubicle. Change your clothes every day and eat inside, especially on days when the pollen count is high.

eating inside allergies

We Can Help

Schedule an appointment with American Sinus Institute today to find out how we can help you with your allergies and sinusitis. We specialize in balloon sinuplasty, which involves inserting a tiny balloon into the sinus opening and inflating it to restructure the sinus cavity. Balloon sinuplasty received FDA clearance in 2005, and over 150,000 patients have had this procedure.

Suffering From Sinus Issues? A Neti Pot Can Provide Relief

sinus problem neti pot

Many people are interested in health solutions that do not rely on prescription or over-the-counter medications to bring them relief. If you are suffering from sinus infection with allergy symptoms and would like to try a natural solution, you may be interested in using a Neti pot.

What Is a Neti Pot?

Developed by Ayurvedic medicine practioners in India, a Neti pot is typically made from ceramic or plastic and comes in the shape of a small pot you would use to serve tea. The term “Neti” in Sanskrit refers to “nasal cleansing,” according to a report from Dr. Axe.

Net Pot relief

How to Use a Neti Pot Correctly

If you’re new to this form of sinus relief, chances are you are wondering how to use a Neti pot correctly.

Fill the pot with a cup of purified, sterile water and stir in Neti pot solution powder. You can buy premixed packets at the store or make your own with a half-teaspoon of non-iodized salt and a pinch of baking soda.

Then lean your body forward while standing over a kitchen or bathroom sink and tilt your head to the side. Position the spout of the Neti pot inside the nostril that is closer to the room’s ceiling.

Relax and breathe through your mouth as you pour the water into your nostril. Water will begin pouring out of the other nostril into the sink as you irrigate your nasal passages. After pouring half of the water into one nostril, shift to the other nostril.

Pure Water Is Essential for Healthy Use of a Neti Pot

Keep in mind the source of water before you put it in your Neti pot to relieve sinus symptoms. If the water coming from your tap contains bacteria, the disease-carrying microbes can lead to a dangerous or even fatal infection when poured directly into your sinuses.

Sterile water is required. You can use distilled water purchased from a store or water that has been filtered for disease-carrying organisms.Pure water neti pot

If using tap water, you must boil it and then let it cool to a comfortable temperature before you pour it into your nasal passages.

You must always clean the Neti pot in between uses and let it dry in the air or with towels. If you purchase a dishwasher-safe Neti pot, then use your washer to keep it sterile.

You wouldn’t share your toothbrush with someone because of hygiene, and this applies to Neti pots too. Each person in your home should have his or her own Neti pot.

Need More Help?

While it would be great if using a Neti pot would take care of all your painful sinus issues, in some cases this form of treatment can be insufficient. You can find relief by undergoing a safe and gentle known as balloon sinuplasty.

Doctors have been using balloon sinuplasty in the United States since 2005 after the procedure gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration. It’s a minimally invasive method in which a doctor places a balloon into your sinus cavity. Then, the balloon inflates to change the structure of the cavity without the need of a surgeon’s knife.

If you would like to learn more about how balloon sinuplasty can improve your painful sinus condition or are ready to book an appointment for a consultation, connect with the American Sinus Institute today.

Using Foods to Fight Fall Allergies – KPRC Click2Houston

Foods to fight fall allergies

Dr. Anand Shah talks to the KPRC Click2Houston team about how you can fight back against your fall allergies with different kinds of food.


Video Transcript:

Speaker 1: This is the itchy eyes and that scratchy throat. Yeah, fall allergies are leaving us pretty miserable. But, there are ways to relieve symptoms without heading to your medicine cabinet.

Speaker 2: Go to the kitchen instead, change your diet here. Health department reporter Hailey Hernandez talking about some foods that might be able to help out.

Hailey H.: Right, food for thought.

Speaker 2: There you go.

Hailey H.: Produce could help serve the purpose of relieving some allergy symptoms. And, one doctor says that this year we need help everywhere we can get it. Mold, pollen, and ragweed, here to stay indefinitely.

Dr. Shah: It’s gonna be pretty severe this year here in Texas because of a lot of the things that have happened with all the rainfall and water. Definitely eat your vegetables.

Hailey H.: That’s right. For all the fall sniffling, sneezing, and itchiness, doctor Shaw from the American Sinus Institute says to eat vegetables. With antiinflammatory elements in vitamin C, he recommends veggies like broccoli and celery.

Dr. Shah: The thought process is vitamin C, which is found in many plant-based foods, broccoli for example, may have an antihistamine effect, which is beneficial. And then, vitamin A, found in carrots for example, can just directly enhance the immune system.

Hailey H.:  In addition to carrots, onions and garlic can help in a similar way.

Dr. Shah: Onions and garlic are also thought to enhance the immune system. Not quite through that mechanism, but they’re also beneficial.

Hailey H.: They have another immune fighting property, Corcidin, which Dr. Shaw says also helps with inflammation. And, vitamin A foods are thought to improve allergies since some studies show people with low vitamin A are more likely to have asthma and allergies. This season, you can eat pumpkin to get lots of vitamin A. Yeah, you see how nature gives the foods during the seasons that we need them most? Don’t forget that if you boil any of those vegetables, then you still have some of the vitamins and nutrients in the water. You can use that to make soup. As a matter of fact, I’m putting an anti allergy soup on click2houston.com right now under the health section. I also put a video on my Facebook of me making it.

Speaker 2: Oh, so you’re doing recipe now Hailey? How about it?

Hailey H.:  I’m a terrible cook.

Speaker 1: I thought you said you were bringing in soup.

Hailey H.:  I don’t know if you…

Speaker 1: I don’t need a recipe.

Hailey H.:  Every time I bring you guys health foods, you all tell me how terrible it is.

Speaker 1: That is true.

Speaker 2: Fair point.

Speaker 1: It’s definitely terrible.

Hailey H.:  And, this one, I forgot an ingredient, so I’m not gonna torture you with that.

Speaker 2: Alright, so followup question. Foods we should avoid?

Hailey H.: Right. So, there are some foods that you should avoid. A lot of foods that are associated with ragweed, so if you have an allergy to ragweed, bananas, melons, cucumbers, zucchini, chamomile, and hibiscus tea.

Speaker 2: Whoa.

Hailey H.:  It’s so interesting-

Speaker 1:  Really?

Hailey H.:  … because every time I drink hibiscus tea, it feels like my sinuses are just closing in on me. I hate it.

Speaker 1:  Interesting.

Hailey H.: And, I have an allergy to ragweed. So now, I’m putting the two together. Pretty interesting.

Speaker 2:  That’s why I stopped eating bananas, I think. Subconsciously, maybe. Because of the ragweed and the banana thing.

Hailey H.:  That’s it?

Speaker 1: That’s so interesting.

Hailey H.:  Really?

Speaker 2: No, seriously. Because, I don’t know why, I just stopped because I think in the winter it was too much.

Speaker 1: Who knew?

Hailey H.:  Yeah.

Speaker 2: That makes sense now.

Hailey H.: It just kinda leaves you funny feeling? That’s what hibiscus tea does to me. I don’t like it.

Speaker 1:  Alright.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1:  Thank you.

Hailey H.: Thanks guys.

Speaker 1:  Good information. Wow.

Speaker 2:  Really.

Speaker 1: All right, who can forget this little mama?

Speaker 2: This is so good.

4 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain

Have you been experiencing sinus pain for a while now, with no obvious sign of relief available? Many patients pursue natural remedies for sinus pain because they wish to avoid undergoing a complicated and invasive surgical procedure. When over-the-counter or prescription drugs will not take care of the problem, individuals will often be motivated to find a gentler solution. With that in mind, here are four all natural remedies for you to consider

Steam

The industrial revolution exploded because of the innovative use of steam to power engines, from factories to trains that transported new manufactured goods to a growing nation of consumers. Steam also happens to be a time-honored natural remedy for sinus pain.

You can use a humidifier to produce clouds of steam to soothe your painful condition. Keep in mind that you should fill the humidifier’s reservoir only with distilled water (minerals suspended in ordinary tap water would start building up inside the humidifier, reducing its effectiveness over time if not cleaned).

For patients who aren’t yet ready to buy a humidifier, you can close the door to your bathroom and let the hot water run to fill the room with steam. Once you see how well it can produce results, you may wind up getting an actual humidifier. This gives you the benefit of running it all night long in your bedroom while you sleep.

Essential Oils

Many people swear by essential oils in their fight against nasal congestion and sinus pain. A range of oils can provide relief.

For example, menthol is prized for clearing up sinus cavities. Patients turn to peppermint, which is another strong oil used for clearing blockages. Oil of cloves helps with sinus congestion too, while others prefer eucalyptus oil to reduce inflammation.

Neti Pot

A Neti pot is an excellent option when you’re focused on natural remedies for sinus pain. All you do is fill the Neti pot with warm water that contains dissolved salt and baking soda (or a prepackaged mix that you can purchase in small, single-serve packets at your local pharmacy).

To avoid making a mess, stand over a sink or in the shower when you irrigate your nasal passages. You start by inserting the Neti pot’s spout into one nostril, to pour the soothing solution into your nasal passages. The water will come out of your other nostril. Then, repeat the procedure by switching nostrils.

Warm Washcloths

The sinus pain you’re experiencing may go away thanks to the simple application of warm washcloths.

Soak a washcloth in warm water from the tap and then apply it to your face periodically throughout the day. Moist heat and residual vapors tend to help open the nasal passages to relieve discomfort.

In cases where natural remedies don’t bring the required nasal relief, many people who are in search of a minimally invasive procedure to address their sinus pain have found that balloon sinuplasty is an ideal option.

An FDA-approved procedure since 2005, balloon sinuplasty has provided relief to more than 150,000 patients so far, and you might be eligible to join this group too. It involves inserting a balloon in the sinus cavity and inflating it to actually restructure the cavity.

To learn more about treating sinus problems with balloon sinuplasty or to make an appointment for a consultation, please get in touch with the American Sinus Institute today.

Discover: Post Nasal Drip Relief

post nasal drip relief

Many allergy sufferers rate post nasal drip as their most irritating symptom. It can show up during even mild allergy attacks. If you are out in public, it can mean hours of discreet nose blowing or choking down the urge to cough and clear your throat. Post nasal drip often seems to hit at the most inopportune times. Learning more about this symptom can help you find post nasal drip relief.

What are the symptoms of post nasal drip?

While post nasal drip is, itself, a symptom of a sinus or respiratory problem, it can cause a number of secondary symptoms to appear. Coughing is common as mucus drips from your nasal cavity and sinuses down into your throat. A sore throat is common because of the irritation that this causes. Many people will develop bad breath. You may also suffer nausea from the swallowed mucus.

Post nasal drip is quite often also accompanied by a feeling of congest or a runny or stuffy nose. If symptoms are severe or frequent enough for concern, come in for a consultation.

What causes post nasal drip?

Your body produces quantities of nasal mucus every day. If you are having an allergy attack or are suffering from a cold, increased mucus production is designed to flush out irritants or viral or bacterial invaders. However, if these maladies are also causing congestion, mucus has nowhere to go but back into your head where it drips down into your throat.

While commonly a symptom of allergies, post nasal drip can also have other causes, too. As mentioned, some people experience it when they are suffering from a cold or the flu. Doctor Shah elaborates that, in other cases, post nasal drip can be a result of gastric reflux. He says, “reflux allows stomach acids to irritate the mucus membrane at the back of your throat. Dairy products can cause congestion in some individuals, resulting in symptoms when milk, cheese, yogurt or other dairy products are consumed.”

How long does post nasal drip last?

In most cases, this symptom is temporary. People who have allergies, for instance, may find that it abates after they’ve taken an antihistamine or have found a respite from their allergy triggers. If it’s the result of a cold, flu or a sinus infection, it will often go away when you begin healing.

However, if you have not yet identified the cause of your post nasal drip, you may find that they are persistent. They may linger for days on end and make it hard to get adequate sleep each night.

What can you do about post nasal drip?

Often, taking a decongestant can get mucus flowing again and allow your body to flush it properly. Medication that relieves underlying causes like GERD can also give you relief. In other cases, chronic sinusitis, however, may require a greater degree of treatment than you can get at home.

We believe you can have post nasal drip relief. Get in touch today to learn how we can make post nasal drip a thing of the past.

Finding Fall Allergy Symptoms Relief

Fall allergy symptoms

Just at the time of year that allergy sufferers in most areas are getting some relief, San Antonians and Houstonites are seeing fall allergy symptoms pop up. If you find that you are always kind of sneezy and itchy at this time of year, fall allergy can be to blame.

What are some fall allergy symptoms?

Many people mistake fall allergy symptoms for the symptoms of a fall or early winter cold. Dr. Shah states that “while there is a large overlap in symptoms, allergies have a few that distinguish them.” The symptoms you are most likely to suffer from if you are experiencing fall allergies:

  • a runny nose with thin, clear discharge
  • sneezing
  • itchy nose and eyes
  • an itchy, irritated throat
  • congestion
  • watery eyes

If you have a fever or if you have thick green or brown mucus, you may be suffering from a sinus infection instead. Additionally, you can often tell if you are suffering from allergies because you’ll experience symptoms only after exposure to your triggers or only during a specific time of year.

What is causing your fall nasal allergies?

In most parts of the country, ragweed is the number one allergen. This blooms in the spring and releases pollen that causes irritation. “Hay fever” is, in fact, a misnomer; most people who have it are reacting to other plants that grow alongside grasses and hay.

In Texas, the most common allergen is mountain cedar. This tree is unlike others and blooms in late fall and winter. Heavy rains in September can often be a predictor of high pollen counts later on. With the wet season we’ve had, it is likely to be a high pollen year.

Mountain cedar is most common in the Hill Country near San Antonio. When the trees turn red with pollen, it’s a sign that the city will soon be full of this common allergen. Houstonians are not safe, either; winds can blow pollen down into Houston and cause residents there to suffer allergy symptoms.

Many people also find that this time of year brings other irritants that can cause allergy symptoms. Fall means bonfires for many people, and the resulting smoke can irritate your eyes and nose.

Wet weather can also make it easy for mold to grow and release spores. A number of allergy sufferers experience mold allergies, making rainy weather a common precursor to severe allergy symptoms.

How to find relief

Many allergy sufferers find that their symptoms are better when they avoid their allergy triggers. If pollen is one of yours, avoiding outdoor activities may be a short-term answer. Allergy medications that range from over the counter antihistamines to more sophisticated nasal steroids can help. Having treatments that include balloon sinuplasty can open up airways and provide lasting relief that reduces your reliance on allergy medication.

Also, check out the 5 tips for San Antonio allergy sufferers from CultureMap San Antonio.

Come in for a consultation at American Sinus for balloon sinuplasty. This can help alleviate your worst allergy symptoms and let you get back to your normal life. You can give us a call at 210-BALLOON or request an appointment online.

 

Allergies Can Cause Recurrent Sinus Infections

Dr. Robert Palmer from American Sinus Institute stopped by Houston Live to discuss how allergies can cause recurrent sinus infections and who can benefit from the balloon sinuplasty procedure.


Video Transcript:

Sharron Melton: All right, we got a live look at Galveston. It’s the pyramids in Galveston it looks like overcast and we are getting rain all day long, probably

Derrick Shore: Certainly will. So, you know part of living in our great city of Houston is that allergy season can be brutal.

Sharron Melton: Did you say great for living is allergies?

Derrick Shore: Nobody warned about this before I moved here.

Sharron Melton: Sorry.

Derrick Shore: The sinus pressure, the difficulty breathing…

Sharron Melton: Me

Derrick Shore: Me too.

Sharron Melton: We all deal with it and now with flu season in full swing, that can make things even worse. So what do you do, and how do you handle all this; especially when it comes to your symptoms? Joining us now, with more of those answers is Dr. Robert Palmer with American Sinus Institute. Hi! Dr. Palmer. Thank you so much for joining us. Because, especially as a sinus sufferer myself, I really have questions for you. Now tell me first of all, a lot of people are dealing with their sinuses and probably not even tackling them right now because of Harvey and all of that. But what should people be doing now to prepare themselves for this season, that is going to be a long one for a lot of people?

Dr. Robert Palmer: Well most people are having an extra whammy because of what happened. And the allergen count is high, there’s bacteria counts that are higher and there’s the moles, but in any event, this time is gonna be tough because they’re trying to take care of their priorities at home…

Derrick Shore: Yeah!

Dr. Robert Palmer: but they probably should use some saltwater solutions and some over-the-counter medication for allergies which will help them out.

Derrick Shore: So, the saltwater solution sort of flushes out some of those contaminants?

Dr. Robert Palmer: Exactly.  It’s particular, it’s not an allergen per say, like you know, molds and your trees and pollen. These are actually particulates, you know, from sawdust, from sheetrock. Gets into your sinuses. It becomes an irritant, can cause recurring infections.

Dr. Robert Palmer: So, this is like a one-two punch, by the way, for the people who have been tearing stuff out of their homes. We’re dealing with all of the dust and everything. One thing that we’ve talked about before, is when people are experiencing these symptoms, a tricky, tricky part, is figuring out the cause of those symptoms.

Sharron Melton: All the time.

Derrick Shore: So, can you explain how you guys were able to diagnose and treat the problem?

Dr. Robert Palmer: Exactly. I mean the symptoms are the same with allergies and an infection. The infection may be more intense. It’s essentially the sinuses get blocked, they can get blocked from allergies, they can get blocked from particulate matter, and they can get blocked from upper respiratory tract infection which is viral.

Derrick Shore: and that can lead to facial pressure?

Dr. Robert Palmer: That leads to pain, the drainage and essentially will eventually become a sinus infection. And people who have that recurring, greater than three or four times a year, fall under the category that they need to have a procedure that will reestablish ventilation and that’s what we do at the Sinus Institute.

Sharron Melton: I know one thing I’ve always been taught is, okay this is probably gonna be gross, but to look at, when you sneeze, of course your mucus, and the color of the mucus to determine, you know if it’s just an allergy, if it’s just regular sinus or something more than that. Does that still help and hold true?

Dr. Robert Palmer: Yeah! It does. I mean, you can have particulate matter that can cause the mucus to change, but most of time it’s a discoloration with the facial pain that suggests that you have a sinus infection and you will need antibiotics…

Sharron Melton: mm-hmm

Dr. Robert Palmer: you just have allergies and the mucus is clear but you still have pain, you don’t need antibiotics for that you need some type of topical spray, antihistamines, decongestants to help you breathe and help you ventilate.

Sharron Melton: So what happens, though, if you are on medication but the medication isn’t working anymore? What should you do next?

Dr. Robert Palmer: You need to come and see the American Sinus Institute. That means that you’re not ventilating or you’re not draining. Okay, you have to drain. The sinuses are active. They’re always producing mucus. If they get blocked and retain fluid, the fluid is nothing more than protein and sugar and guess what likes protein and sugar, besides us?

Sharron Melton: Bacteria, yeah!

Dr. Robert Palmer: If it stays in there and nasal passages are blocked that bacteria gets into the sinus and you end up with the sinusitis.

Derrick Shore: Oh interesting! That makes total sense. So, listen you mentioned the procedure opening up these passageways, can you describe to us exactly how it’s done, it’s a balloon sinuplasty?

Dr. Robert Palmer: Yes, exactly. The reason it’s such a wonderful procedure, we’re not damaging the sinuses. In the past, we would go in and remove tissue; that’s not good. Sinuses do not like to have their tissue removed. What they want to have is an opening that will ventilate so the fluid can get out.

Derrick Shore: Can drain out and that’s what we’re seeing right now.

Dr. Robert Palmer: Exactly, and if you go in and scar the mucosa, then it can’t move because it works on a mucociliary flow, it’s like a moving carpet and if that mucus that’s in the sinus, that’s been blocked and retained, its that opening that you scarred, where does it go? It falls back into the sinuses. Now you’re into recurring infection…

Sharron Melton: Right!

Dr. Robert Palmer: with the balloon sinuplasty we don’t do any damage to the sinuses. We just re-established ventilation.

Sharron Melton: How long does this procedure take?

Dr. Robert Palmer: 15 to 20 minutes, sometimes 45.

Sharron Melton: And do you have to go back, and is it a reoccurring surgery you have to have, or what happens?

Dr. Robert Palmer: We hope not. I’ve done some people over again, you know nothing’s perfect, but compared to endoscopic sinus surgery, we get about an 80 to 90% success rate. Whereas, when we were doing endoscopic sinus surgery, I did three thousand of in my career, I was happy if I got a 50% success rate. We were doing too much, less is better. Very important.

Derrick Shore: But also, American Sinus Institute, you guys do the most procedures, I understand in Texas?

Dr. Robert Palmer: Yes, between the three offices, exactly.

Derrick Shore: And for most of your patients, are they immediately getting relief? I mean can they, how long until they can go back to work or until they’re feeling like they can breathe again?

Dr. Robert Palmer: If they don’t have a job that requires heavy lifting, they can go back the next day…

Sharron Melton: Oh! really!?

Dr. Robert Palmer: getting relief within the first 72 hours. I see them at two weeks and when they come in at two weeks most patients are very happy. Already they don’t have the headaches, they don’t have the blockage, they can breathe and they feel a hundred percent better.

Sharron Melton: Oh! that’s fantastic. Anytime you can breathe is a good thing, yes all right.

Derrick Shore: Almost out of time, by the way, about 30 seconds left. Any advice you have for all of us as we are moving into the lovely flu season?

Dr. Robert Palmer: I mean, let me explain. We don’t operate because you have an upper respiratory tract infection, that’s just the cause. You’re gonna have to go through that like anybody else. You get a virus, it’s gonna go away. You need to treat yourself with decongestants and get through that period. If however, after the flu resolves and you’re still having facial pain, then you come and see us for that. That’s the idea. That’s the thing I wanted to explain, it’s very important. We talk about allergies, we talk about upper respiratory tract infections, we talk about sinusitis. The most important thing is that, if you just have allergies, and you think you may not benefit from this, allergies can cause recurrent sinus infections okay? It’s an inflammatory reaction to an allergen. It’s not an infection of itself, but if it blocks your sinuses then you’re susceptible to the recurring infections, so people who normally never would have had endoscopic sinus surgery can benefit from the balloon sinuplasty.

Sharron Melton: All right, Dr. Palmer thank you so much. We really appreciate your time and also for more information on this procedure and ways to improve your own sinus health contact American Sinus Institute at 713-BALLOON which is 713-225-5666 or make sure you check out their website americansinus.com

Ad:

I came to American Sinus Institute, well one, because my husband said that I snored really, really loud, but then I noticed that I also sniffed a lot. I work in an environment where there’s lots of trees and pollen. After my balloon sinuplasty at American Sinus Institute, I feel like I could breathe again. You don’t realize that something isn’t quite right until it’s right again.  I don’t feel congested or stuffy or even like I have a sinus headache. Schedule your appointment today.  American Sinus Institute.

Black Mold Risks Are Rising in Houston

Black Mold Risks Are Rising in Houston

Houston’s high humidity levels make for a constant battle against mold and mildew. If you have a mold allergy, it can often mean living with persistent symptoms that include runny nose, headaches, itchy and watery eyes and a hoarse cough. The recent hurricane and resulting flooding and debris can make black mold in Houston worse than ever. To help affected citizens cope with the damage, American Sinus Institute is donating $10 from every copay to the Mayor’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund in Houston through the month of October.

Why Has Hurricane Harvey Made Mold Worse?

Mold spores are constantly present. You can’t see them, but they float on the air and land on surfaces waiting for the chance to develop. After a hurricane like Harvey, flooded and damp areas make the perfect mold hosts. FEMA says that mold can begin developing as little as 24 hours after water exposure. In the wake of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, investigators found that almost half of the homes that were damaged by floodwaters contained mold after the storm.

What Is Black Mold?

Mold comes in many colors. Most people are allergic to mold do not specifically have a black mold allergy. Rather, they are allergic to any of many kinds and can experience allergic symptoms when exposed.

In the 1990s, the CDC explored the possibility that specific molds such as Strachybotrus chartarum were connected to certain severe respiratory disorders. While their studies showed that there was no connection, the “toxic mold” misnomer stuck.

The truth is that many types of mold you encounter inside homes or businesses can cause allergy symptoms and can aggravate conditions such as asthma. These reactions can be found even in people who do not exhibit other respiratory conditions or nasal allergies. Mold exposure, whether it is black mold or another type, can be harmful to your health. For this reason, the World Health Organization has created guidelines to help improve indoor air quality and reduce exposure to mold.

What Are the Symptoms of Mold Allergy?

The most common reaction when exposed to mold include the usual array of hay fever symptoms: a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, coughing and nasal irritation. In young children, early and frequent exposure has been linked to a higher chance of developing asthma. Individuals who have chronic respiratory illnesses may find their conditions exacerbated by exposure to mold.

What Can I Do About Mold?

The best way to avoid mold allergy symptoms is to avoid exposure to mold. If your home has been water damaged, you may need professional mold mitigation to remove it from inside carpet pads, behind walls and cabinets and underneath your floor. Items like mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals and soft furniture that have been exposed to flood conditions may need to be discarded.

Can I Reduce My Susceptibility?

Allergy treatment that includes medication or allergy shots can help eliminate reactions to black mold and other allergens. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, you can also find relief through treatments like balloon sinuplasty that open up airways and help you breathe more easily.

Do you think that you may have a black mold allergy? Making an appointment to come in this month has an added benefit: we are donating $10 from every copay to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Get in touch today to learn more about allergies and the best ways to protect your health and to help others recover from the storm.

Have You Been Misdiagnosed With Allergies?

misdiagnosed with allergies

Do you sneeze so much that at times you feel like you should own stock in a facial tissue company? Or are your nose and nasal passages often feeling like they’re completely stuffed? Wear and tear on your nose from chronic sneezing and blockages is a drag. Many patients would prefer it if they could no longer need to take anti-allergy medications to clear up their sinuses and avoid infections, but what if you’ve been misdiagnosed with allergies all along?

Severe allergy symptoms can make you feel miserable and keep you from enjoying your favorite outdoor activities. They may even affect where you choose to live or work. But what if the sinus problems you are experiencing have nothing to do with allergies?

It can be difficult for patients to tell the difference between having full-fledged allergies or sinusitis, but healthcare providers can give you a more definitive answer.

Ruling Out Allergies

It’s entirely possible that your primary health care provider diagnosed you too quickly as having allergic sinusitis, rather than taking the time to conduct a more comprehensive examination to reach a more accurate diagnosis. However, you might have misdiagnosed yourself.

According to an ABC News report focusing on the question of whether allergies or sinusitis is the problem, approximately 50 percent of 600 allergy and asthma patients reported in a survey that they had diagnosed themselves as having allergies when the issue was actually sinusitis.

Fortunately for patients in this type of situation, once you have ruled out allergies as being the cause of your sinus issues, you can take advantage of a drug-free solution. Patients looking to prevent frequent sinus infections from coming back can opt for balloon sinuplasty, a safe and quick solution that was approved by the FDA back in 2005 and which is available now at the American Sinus Institute.

Balloon Sinuplasty for Opening Your Nasal Passages

The goal of balloon sinuplasty is to open blocked sinus passages in a minimally invasive procedure.

More than 150,000 patients have undergone this safe procedure. Here at the American Sinus Institute, we employ the Honrubia Technique for Balloon Sinuplasty, which involves the patient undergoing general anesthesia. We follow this protocol rather than using local anesthesia because patients find it more beneficial and relaxing, which is key to a successful sinuplasty procedure.

With balloon sinuplasty, the doctor inserts a small balloon in the area where the sinuses are blocked. Then, the balloon is inflated gently and slowly.

While inflating, the balloon presses against sinus walls, compacting them and opening up the passage. It’s that simple. Once complete, we flush the nasal passage with saline solution. This outpatient procedure typically takes less than 60 minutes and involves less risk and faster recovery than other sinuplasty methods that do not use a balloon.

Enjoy Easier Breathing With Sinuplasty

The sinus headache that you dread experiencing may actually not be caused by a reaction to allergies but in fact could be the result of inflamed or swollen tissues in the nasal cavities that can be treated with balloon sinuplasty. To learn more about balloon sinuplasty in our location for Houston and San Antonio patients or to book an appointment for a consultation, please connect with the American Sinus Institute today.

Did The Storm Stir Up Your Sinus Symptoms? – Houston Life on KPRC Click2Houston

Sinus problems after the hurricane balloon sinuplasty

Dr. Vincent Honrubia talks to Houston Life about how a storm stir up your sinus symptoms and the nonevasive procedure he recommends to fix them.


Video Transcript:

Derrick Shore – Here’s a live look outside from our Avenida-Houston cam; looking over Discovery Green folks. Welcome back to Houston Life. So, chronic sinus symptoms like headaches, facial pain and breathing problems can all affect your quality of life and unfortunately, the recent weather we’ve been having, maybe a hurricane or two could make those existing issues even worse.

Jennifer Broome – But there’s good news. There is a minimally invasive technology that could help put an end to your sinus pain. Dr. Vincent Honrubia with the American Sinus Institute is here with the details. Hi, Dr. Honrubia.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Hi! Thank you for having me.

Jennifer Broome – Okay let’s talk about this. Have you been noticing kind of an uptick in folks coming to see you since the storm and since our air quality has gotten so bad?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Yes, we have noticed that and also that this recent exposure to all this dirty water, people swimming out of restaurants, people moving around in the water. Put off their head under this water that has a lot of bacteria causing, lots of problems and a lot more complicated infections that people ordinarily wouldn’t be exposed to.

Derrick Shore – And in the beginning, I mean a lot of people didn’t really have a choice but to go through the water, I mean a lot of people were sort of recreating in the water. I don’t know if you saw those videos on YouTube of people like jumping in, waterskiing in it. But, some of those people may have residual issues as a result.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – That’s correct. You know just like people are getting these chronic skin infections and things like that, the sinuses are open cavities that aren’t supposed to be exposed to this type of bacteria. And one of the things we do with this procedures not only we open and clean the sinuses, but we also rinse the sinuses out.

Jennifer Broome – So talk a little bit about the procedure because this is designed to be minimally invasive, this isn’t to give you a bunch of downtime, later.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Correct. This is a procedure done in the office that takes about 20 to 25 minutes. It’s done with anesthesia, with an anesthesia provider there, using small balloon catheters to go into the sinuses open the sinuses through their natural opening, and at the same time rinse out the chronic infection that sits in the sinus.

Derrick Shore – So, when you say anesthesia, you’re not like totally out right? It’s not general anesthesia?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – It’s not general anesthesia. It’s IV sedation.

Derrick Shore – So you are awake during the process. We’re seeing some video actually behind you. So, as you mentioned that tiny little balloon flips up there.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Right, the tiny little balloon goes in. It then it opens the sinus by pushing away and creating space by compressing tissue in certain positions. And then after that’s done, we rinse it, clean the sinus out. So when you do have the procedure, this procedure in our office with the Honrubia technique, you are not conscious that you’re having the procedure so there’s no pain, no discomfort but people can return to work the next day. There’s no bleeding, there’s no bruising, there’s no indication you had a procedure done.

Jennifer Broome – How does somebody know, if what they’re going through it’s just kind of seasonal stuff, seasonal allergies or if they really do maybe need something like this?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Well, I think in the past before this incident, it was easy to tell because you’d be in a long-term situation where you’re chronically taking medications over and over. Now it’s gonna be very hard to tell especially if you didn’t have any sinus problems before and now you’re having a problem it’s gonna be hard to tell without having someone examine you, do a cat scan, study what’s going on if you really have some acute unusual bacteria, bacteria in your sinuses it’s hard to figure that out without professional advice.

Derrick Shore – And Dr. Honorubia, we’ve spoken you’ve been on the show before, but it’s interesting I’ve heard from your clients say I can’t believe I waited so long to do something like this, it made such a difference and I think many of us who maybe are a little adverse or averse rather, to having any sort of surgery done. This is an outpatient procedure, there’s no pain, you’ve done more than 3000 of these surgeries, so there’s really not a lot to worry about.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Right, not a lot to worry about. Covered by your insurance; not a lot to worry about. People turn to work very very soon after the procedure and we have a long track record of working well with the patients, getting good results, publishing our data. We’re very open about what we’re doing.

Derrick Shore – So instead of just continuing to live with the symptoms, people can go in, and actually we’re seeing some video right now of the office. I mean how much time would someone expect to pass until they’re breathing normally again?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – People come in with this procedure, you see them they’re getting the cat scan on the TV, but what they do is they come in, they get scanned they get examined, the procedure like I said it happens in the mornings, often patients go to work the following day, some patients have gone to work the same day. That’s depending on how bad they want to go to work, but like I said, it’s a minimally invasive, effective way of treating your sinusitis. Getting you off medications, cleaning your sinuses out, give you a peace of mind that you can do well and have good results with a very minimally invasive procedure.

Jennifer Broome – Do you hear from people that this really is life-changing for them, you know from that life of the Sudafed and the Advil and all of that to keep the pain and pressure down and now they can breathe again?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – I have patients that after they have the procedure they ask the nurse to lay them flat and they’ll breathe through their nose for the first time, laying flat and they’ll cry because I’ve never breathed through my nose laying flat, ever. Whenever I went to sleep, I was snoring, I couldn’t breathe. I’ve seen 250 pound men lay flat and start crying; I can breathe through my nose. So it is a very dramatic thing once your nose is open, you can breath better, less headaches, less drainage, less infections, better sleeping patterns.

Derrick Shore – You mentioned the headaches too, it’s not just about breathing. A lot of people have that pressure that leads to headaches, that really can distract you from your day and be debilitating.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – That’s correct. So people that have chronic facial pain, headaches, drainage, even ear symptoms, ear popping, you do balloons with the ears as well. So there’s a variety of symptoms that you may not think connect to your sinuses but they are. Smell issues, headaches, sleeping problems, ear popping, sore throat, clearing the throat, all those can be related to the sinusis.

Derrick Shore – All connected. You guys are doing something really cool. You’re donating $10 of every co-pay toward the Harvey Relief Fund right?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Right, so we try to give some relief to the citizens of Houston. We’re taking $10 of each co-pay from each patient a donate the Hurricane Relief Fund here locally in Houston.

Jennifer Broome – And this is so easy. If you want more information, you want to talk about if this is right for you, you want to schedule an appointment, all you have to do is call 713-balloon, 713-225-5666. You can also visit online. You guys have a really informative website online at americansinus.com. So that was really, it’s really helpful.

Derrick Shore – Yeah! worth looking into, for sure. Because I know when I moved to Houston I suddenly started having these issues.

Jennifer Broome – It’s a different world here. Air quality’s not the best, we have all these allergens and now these people have been in their houses cleaning out mold and drywall of the last couple of weeks.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Mold is a big deal in the sinuses; it’s a big deal, it’s bad. Sinuses do not like mold

Derrick Shore – Dr. Honrubia, thank you so much for stopping by.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia – Thank you for having me.

Symptom Checker

Surprising Indoor Allergy Triggers

Indoor Allergy Triggers

When people think of nasal allergies, they usually connect them to either pollen or pets. However, some individuals regularly suffer from the characteristic sneezing, runny nose and other symptoms of allergies without exposure to either. In these cases, they may be suffering one of the many surprising triggers of indoor allergies. These indoor allergy triggers can include any of the following:

1. Pet rats, rabbits, hamsters or mice

Many people believe that only dogs and cats cause allergic reactions. Many people are sensitive to a far wider range of common pets, though. If someone in your household has a pet of any kind, you may wind up having reactions to their dander.

2. Mold

Mold spores are everywhere. These particles just need a little exposure to water to begin to grow and multiply. While many people are afraid of “toxic black mold,” the truth is that many types of mold can cause nasal allergy symptoms in someone who is susceptible. Mold can hide in bathrooms, basements, closets and other areas of your home undetected, causing indoor allergies when someone is exposed.

3. Horse hair

If you don’t own a horse, how would you be exposed to horse hair? Many people are surprised to learn that this substance was once a common upholstery stuffing. If you have recently purchased an antique sofa or stuffed chair, there is a chance that it is stuffed with horse hair.

4. Pollen

Pollen doesn’t stop outside your front door. It can float inside your home on air currents or hitch a ride on clothing. Frequently worn but less frequently washed items like jackets, backpacks and purses are a common vector for pollens to get indoors. People who suffer from allergies should be very consistent about frequent laundering during pollen season.

5. Your pillow

The pillow you sleep on is probably not made from substances that trigger your allergies. However, it can harbor a wide range of allergens. If you have a cat, she may choose your pillow as a favorite lounging place, leaving behind large amounts of dander. You may deposit pollen and other allergens on it yourself when you put your head on it each night. Then, while you are sleeping, you inhale the allergens that have been put right next to your nose and mouth. People who wake up feeling stuffy and congested may be exposed to allergens overnight while they sleep.

6. Household cleaning products

Researchers are still investigating the role of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor allergies and asthma. Their findings so far seem to indicate that VOCs in household cleaning chemicals, scented candles and other substances used indoors may exacerbate allergy symptoms. While you may not be allergic to the chemicals in your cleaning products, they may be making your reaction to allergy triggers worse.

Get Allergy Relief

Acute sinusitis plays a role in the severity of your allergy symptoms. If you suffer from nasal allergies on a regular basis, treatment for sinusitis can help reduce inflammation and keep nasal passages clear. We offer several treatment options that can help. Get in touch today for a consultation.

Allergies – Great Day Houston

American Sinus Institute on Day Time Nine | 9-15-16

Dr. Honrubia visits Great Day Houston to discuss allergies, and the fantastic results his patient Ashleigh Hoffman received after visiting American Sinus Institute.


Video Transcript:

Deborah Duncan: Welcome back to Great Day. If constant sinus pressure has you clogged up and breathing seems to be a hassle these days. Oh! wait a minute, we live in Houston! There’s a solution for you and here to help you breathe easier please welcome Dr. Vincent Honrubia founder of American Sinus Institute and his patient Ashley Hoffman. Good morning.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: Good morning, thank you.

Deborah Duncan: It seems for a lot of us, there is a constant thing going on. I know I went in not that long ago, and said my voice is gone and it’s not good for talk-show host to not have a voice right? But there’s sometimes we can get by over-the-counter stuff seasonally, but when should someone think okay this is enough?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: I think whenever someone finds in any situation that they’re having to continually use medicines, every week they’re having to buy out Flonase, Alegra or Claritin over-the-counter and they find that they’re connected to those medicines, they should think about doing some other solutions that solves a problem not just treats the problem but solves the problem.

Deborah Duncan: All right, what’s going on right now so seems like everybody I run into got watery eyes, sniffing the whole business. Is it just springtime in Houston?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: Springtime in Houston. Pollen numbers are skyrocketing. You can go on your little app on the phone and get a pollen alert and it lights up every day now in Houston. Grass is high, weeds high, trees high, so it’s typical.

Deborah Duncan: That’s why I believe in silks anyway, Ashley had you not gone to Dr. Honrubia at any given time you might not have made it here this morning.

Ashley Hoffman: I might not have. I’m very allergic to the pollen and it seems like every spring and every fall my allergy symptoms were very bad. I had very bad headaches, lots of facial pain and pressure. And I finally decided to do this procedure and it helped immediately. The next day I felt like a normal person.

Deborah Duncan: She mentioned, headaches and such, facial pressure, headaches, fatigue, poor sleep, nasal congestion, ear pain. So basically you are miserable. It can shut people down, so you got the procedure done what procedure. What procedure is she talking about?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: We’re talking about the in-office balloon sinuplasty done in the Aswile physician’s facility without having to go to the hospital by using small balloons that go into sinuses to make everything more open, by compressing tissue without removing tissue and the difference between

Deborah Duncan: Is that the way they used to do it?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: They used to remove tissue to create space. Now we compress tissue to make space and by compressing there’s no bleeding, there’s no packing, very little downtime, patients can actually go to work that day after the procedure. So it’s a big difference between what we used to do, five years ago to what we’re doing now.

Deborah Duncan: Yeah! yeah! All right! Let’s back up and talk about what happens inside here, that people don’t understand which is causing the whole problem?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: Which is a great question because really people think about allergy think about sneezing, runny nose, but other things that happen are, you get swollen inside your head and that connections between outside space and inside your head to these big sinus cavities get closed. And that’s why people think you have migraines well they probably don’t have migraines. Migraines are very rare, they’re probably having sinus headaches so these issues of facial pressure and drainage and these other things that are happening are sinus related but people don’t connect that connect at dizziness ear pressure sinus related so these are things that had symptoms that people have they don’t think okay that could be your sinus so what we do with these balloons is go in put them in the correct location and make the passages open so now the pressure in the head is equal to the pressure in space.

Deborah Duncan: Yeah and is that permanent?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: Permanent. A permanent fix.

Deborah Duncan: She’s like smiling so yes it is. Ashley, before you got to that point of coming up with that solution, what types of things, were you doing just to try and keep it out on top of it all?

Ashley Hoffman: I took Allegra and Claritin pretty regularly and I wasn’t a person who suffered all year long like I said, but during allergy seasons, at the peak of them, I was miserable. I was taking it daily. I did start relying on Afrin to try to sleep because I couldn’t breathe at night when I would lay down.

Deborah Duncan: The domino effect.

Ashley Hoffman: It is, and that’s probably the hardest part of the whole thing is not being able to sleep at night and like I said, the very first night I slept, and it’s just been that way ever since.

Deborah Duncan: Wow! She mentioned the medications. A lot of medications that used to be prescription only, are now over the counter and people think well that used to be prescription now it’s over the counter that’s what I need to do but as you were saying earlier if you’re a lot getting through a couple of days is one thing but if you’re relying on it all the time you have not you took care of symptoms you have not taken care the problem?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: Correct. You’re taking care of treating a symptom but not fixing it, in people who spend upwards of $100 a month on these medications and not even think about it. When that patient comes in they’re spending on Afrin they’re spending, fifty seventy dollars a month from 10 years I mean that’s a lot of money to be spending us and it doesn’t fix it that actually makes things worse. So these are all different types of things that can be done but the way to fix it, now has become something was more difficult to something very very easy, minimally invasive in the office covered by the insurance, that is very effective.

Deborah Duncan: Yeah! Yeah! and it’s not one size fits all you want people to come in so you can look and see what else may be going on because sometimes people have multiple things, right?

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: That’s correct. So some people may have a very high allergy load, some people may have a big structural problem, some people you have something else, acid reflux, and people may have sleep apnea so there are all different things.

Deborah Duncan: Some people may be using q-tips to putting wax in their ears

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: That’s right, they come in two.

Deborah Duncan: Your whole practice, is that you do a number of things. The sinuplasty, this is one of the things you do, but other things, allergy testings all that type of stuff as well.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: Correct. We do allergy testing, we do allergy shots, we do allergy drops that you can take home. So a variety of things to treat the sinus in addition to the balloon sinuplasty.

Deborah Duncan: Yeah! and Houston is a good place to do that.

Dr. Vincent Honrubia: Yes, it is.

 Thank you very much, thank you for joining us. If you are looking for an appointment with Dr. Vincent Honrubia, you can call 713-balloon that works out to be 713-225-5666 or log on to www.americansinus.com.

Symptom Checker

Will Sinus Surgery Help My Allergies?

American Sinus Institute sinus-lungs-breathing

If you’ve been diagnosed with a serious sinus issue related to allergies, you might be wondering how effective sinus surgery for allergies really is. There is a lot of information available about the effectiveness of endoscopic sinus surgery for those who experience chronic sinus infections and the resultant symptoms.

Treating Allergies

Numerous studies have found that balloon sinuplasty and other sinus surgery methods are extremely effective at eliminating sinus infections and reducing pain and discomfort. While the surgery does not necessarily stop you from being allergic to the various particles that cause your allergies, but they do open up passageways and help your sinuses drain before they can get infected.

While it may seem drastic to shoot for surgery without first attempting other forms of treatment, those studies also show that the sooner you take this step, the fewer health problems you will develop due to your allergies – for instance, asthma and chronic fatigue caused by being unable to sleep with blocked sinuses.

The Link Between the Sinuses and the Lungs

Many people who experience regular sinus infections also develop asthma with time. This is because the same irritants that cause infections in your sinuses also cause infections and irritation in your lungs.

Due to the close connection between the nose and lungs, more doctors are recommending sinus treatment to patients who have a definitive allergy diagnosis. By treating your sinus condition as soon as possible, you can potentially avoid developing lung problems like asthma. If you already have asthma, sinus treatment can provide relief from your asthmatic symptoms.

Your sinuses can actually affect your health in numerous ways. Fortunately, sinus treatment and sinus surgery have both proven successful at ridding patients of the effects of sinus infections. The earlier you put a stop to your sinus infections, the less bacteria is able to move to your lungs and the better health you will have all around.

So if you’ve ever wondered, “Will sinus surgery help my allergies?” the answer is almost certainly yes. However, we strongly recommend using conservative treatments such as medications to treat your sinus problems first. If these fail or are not a good solution for you, then sinus surgery can be a great alternative.

To figure out if you are a good candidate for sinus surgery, contact the American Sinus Institute today and schedule your consultation.

Even after receiving sinus treatment, symptoms of asthma tend to stick around while your body recovers and clears itself of all related bacteria.

Most Common Holiday Allergens And How To Prep Your Sinuses For The Season

American Sinus Institute Sick Woman Blowing Her Nose With Tissue In Christmas Setting

While most people associate allergies with the spring and fall, thousands of people suffer from holiday allergens, specifically those that we bring into our homes as we decorate trees and gift poinsettias to friends and family. Here are a few of the most common holiday allergies that afflict people this time of year, and how to fend them off.

Pine Tree Allergies

If you’re a stickler for real trees at the holiday, you may be surprised to find that they are the cause of your Christmas tree allergy symptoms. Those who have a pine tree allergy actually may be suffering from one of two different allergens present on their trees. People who are sensitive to pollen during the spring and early summer also may be sensitive to pine tree pollen.

On the other hand, some people are allergic to pine nuts. This allergy is less common, but may appear in those who are allergic to other tree nuts. If you believe you are having symptoms related to your Christmas tree, you may want to consider the switch to an artificial tree. Keep in mind that burning fire wood also can cause reactions due to smoke and bringing wood into your home.

Food Allergies

The holidays are a time when many of us attend potlucks and other parties full of exciting foods. Unfortunately, if you have known food allergies it can be difficult to navigate the smorgasbord. Longtime favorites like pecan pie and holiday cookies are known for increases in allergic reactions during the holidays. Be careful what you eat and always ask if you are unsure about the ingredients.

Pet Allergies

Your furry friends also may be a culprit in your allergy issues during the holidays. Most animals go through a period of adjustment as their winter coats grow in. The additional fur and dander in the air can cause reactions even if you live with your pet just fine the rest of the year. The best way to handle this is to keep your animals well-groomed and be prepared with allergy medicine if you start noticing symptoms.

American Sinus Institute

As the holidays draw nearer, we invite you to speak with a specialist at the American Sinus Institute if you are worried about allergies interrupting your celebrations. Our minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty procedure can provide relief from many debilitating seasonal allergy symptoms, and time to recover is typically brief. Contact or visit our locations in Houston and San Antonio to learn more.

Holiday Get-Aways – What To Bring If You Have Allergies

American Sinus Institute Holiday-Get-Away

People planning a vacation should consider their destination and how it will affect their allergies, especially rhinitis. Many beautiful areas have excessive pollen, especially in the spring season. Visitors should be aware that they may experience nasal allergies at their vacation destination, but that should not keep them from enjoying their vacation if they are prepared.

Personal Products

People with nasal allergies should take their usual antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, inhalers and eye drops with them on vacation in case they are needed. Consider this as the allergy relief kit. All medications should be in the prescription bottles or original packaging.

Many people head to desert resorts for a vacation in the winter and spring. Dust and other allergens can be a problem in desert areas. Many desert resorts have green golf courses and lush landscaping with trees and flowers that pollinate.

Dust storms can trigger allergies, so it is best to stay indoors should one occur. Hotels should have adequate air conditioning and heating so that windows can stay closed until the storm passes. Shower in the evening to wash off any pollen or dust that might accumulate on clothes or on your body and hair. You can bring your own dust-mite proof pillowcase.

Visitors to tropical islands in the Caribbean or Hawaii may be exposed to mold spores, which are common allergens. Hotel guests are advised to check their rooms or rented condos for mold build up in the bathrooms and kitchens.

Tropical resorts also often have golf courses with lush vegetation so it may not be unusual to experience some sinus irritation. It is advisable to check with a doctor and make sure you have the right products before your vacation. A steroid nasal spray or inhaler may be the best defense against respiratory irritations at your destination.

Insect bites

Wear protective clothing and use insect repellent if you are visiting a region with mosquitoes and other flying insects. Wear closed-toe shoes rather than flip-flops if you are in areas with crawling insects.

Take anti-inch creams, aloe vera gel and other lotions with corticosteroids that can help with insect bites. Antihistamines such as Benadryl also help with common itching from bites. Ice helps with itching and acetaminophen can reduce minor pain and swelling.

The same products can also be used after exposure to poison oak, ivy or other plants. Colloidal oatmeal products, including soap, are also helpful with allergic plant reactions.

Be aware of other abnormal reactions such as swollen feet or eyes.  Severe hives, rashes and other reactions may need to be treated at a local clinic.

Food allergies

Be careful of the meals you order if you have allergic reactions to some foods. Most airlines no longer serve peanuts out of respect for passengers allergic to nuts. Eat in recommended restaurants and drink bottled water if you are concerned about food and drink in the areas you visit.

Too much sun and alcoholic drinks can make people sick. Some people experience swelling in the sinus passages from various alcoholic drinks.

Take antacid medication with you if you have a sensitive stomach. You may also want to carry anti-diarrhea medication.

Anaphylaxis shock

People with severe allergic reactions can experience shortness of breath and even cardiac arrest from some insect bites, foods and drinks. If any of these symptoms appear, seek immediate medical attention. Epinephrine is usually administered to counteract anaphylaxis reactions. If you have an EpiPen, keep it with you at all times if you are in danger of a severe allergic reaction.

Nausea, dizziness and a weak pulse are also symptoms requiring immediate medical assistance.

Jellyfish stings

These colorful creatures may not actually be seen when you are swimming in the ocean. Their tentacles can break off and float in the water. You may experience a stinging sensation and see a string of little red circles on your arms and legs if you come into contact with the often invisible tentacles. The stinging will eventually go away but the area should be washed with fresh water and vinegar. Vinegar neutralizes the toxins. Aloe vera gel can also ease the stinging and itching.

Atmospheric conditions

Changes in the weather can affect sinuses. Traveling from cold to warm weather, or from wet to dry weather can trigger nasal allergies. Altitude can also impact sinuses. Airplane cabins are very dry, so drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic drinks during long flights.

American Sinus Institute

People with serious sinus allergies should contact the American Sinus Institute for information on the balloon sinuplasty procedure using the Honrubia Technique to treat severe conditions. ASI is a leader in this non-surgical procedure that reduces swelling in the nasal passages for people with allergies and other sinus problems.

Contact us for any additional information.

Signs That Your Child Has Allergies

American Sinus Institute Child with Allergies

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of food and skin allergies in children have been steadily rising. Below, are some common symptoms of child allergies and what to do if your child is showing signs of an allergic reaction.

Is Your Child Likely to Have Allergies?

It’s possible for any individual to be born with allergies or to develop them at some point. However, genetics play a part in the likelihood of having allergies. If you or your partner have allergic reactions, your children will be more likely to be born with or develop them as well. Discovering symptoms and taking action early will help your child to be healthier.

Signs of Child Allergies

If you suspect that your child is suffering from allergies, there are steps you can take to remedy the problem. Start by keeping an eye out for the following symptoms and take note of when and where they occur.

  • Sneezing, coughing, and red itchy eyes
  • A runny nose with clear discharge
  • Shallow breathing or wheezing
  • Hives or rashes
  • Upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea

Several of these symptoms will look like the cold or flu. To distinguish between simply being sick and developing allergies, pay attention to how long the symptoms continue. If coughing and sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose continue for more than a week, allergies are more likely to blame.

Noting Triggers of Child Allergies

In addition to paying attention to the symptoms your child shows, it’s important to determine any potential triggers. When you see a reaction, such as sneezing when playing outside, make a note of where your child was and what they were doing when the symptoms started. There are several common airborne allergens that are most likely to affect children.

  • Dust mites – carried through the air and often found on fabrics and in carpets
  • Mold – which can be found outdoors or in poorly ventilated areas inside homes and other buildings
  • Pets – due to dander or saliva which can end up on the fur

Food allergies are also becoming more prevalent in children. The leading food allergens include:

  • Peanuts
  • tree nuts
  • milk
  • wheat
  • soy
  • shellfish eggs

What to Do if You Suspect Child Allergies

In some cases, it will be easy to pinpoint child allergies as the cause of symptoms and a doctor will be able to share with you the best course of action. In other cases, allergy triggers won’t be as clear. Working with your doctor will help to determine what your child is reacting to and how to deal with the problem.

An allergist will complete tests to determine allergies. To test a variety of possible allergens, the allergist will use a small amount of the allergens to observe the skin’s reaction. The area will become red and slightly swollen if an allergy exists. After being tested and showing symptoms of allergies, you can take steps to keep your child healthy.

Treating Child Allergies

While allergies cannot be cured, reactions can be avoided. Helping your child to avoid contact with their allergens is, of course, the best place to start. It’s also important to educate your child about their allergy and the possible reactions they could have if exposed.

In some cases, the symptoms of allergies may impair quality of life. In these situations, you might choose for your child to have allergy shots, use an antihistamine, or have a procedure to alleviate symptoms. A Balloon Sinuplasty is a procedure that offers relief from sinus pain, an issue that many allergy sufferers deal with.

In addition, there are several steps that can be taken at home and at school to avoid allergens.

  • For those with pet allergies, keep family pets out of the child’s bedroom or rethink having a pet.
  • When possible, choose hard floors rather than carpet, which will hold dust and dander.
  • Those with pollen allergies should keep windows closed in their home. After being outdoors, the child should shower quickly to remove pollen from their skin. Clothing worn outdoors by the child should be laundered quickly for the same reason.
  • Alert teachers, including gym teachers and lunch room monitors, about allergies, any medications your child may require, and what to do in case of a reaction.

The balloon sinuplasty treatment clears nasal passages to alleviate sinus pain and it may also help with allergy relief. Please contact the American Sinus Institute for more information on the procedure.

What Are The Causes Of Allergies?

American Sinus Institute Allergies

Allergies are a common issue among children and adults alike. In fact, roughly 50 million people in the US have nasal allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The underlying causes of allergic reactions are not yet fully understood, but researchers do know what occurs when people are exposed to allergens. There are also some notable factors that can increase the risk of developing an allergy.

Immune System Response

Allergic reactions occur when the human body’s immune system mistakenly identifies certain foreign substances as potential dangers. These substances are typically harmless and only cause reactions in those with allergies. The immune system produces proteins called antibodies, which attach themselves to the foreign substances. This allows other immune system cells to easily locate and destroy them.

When people are exposed to allergens, their immune system produces a different type of antibody, called immunoglobulin E (IgE). This leads to symptoms such as a stuffy nose or trouble breathing, depending on where IgE antibodies are produced. In those with an allergy, the immune system will produce these antibodies when it is exposed to particular allergens.

Allergy Risk Factors

Although anyone can develop an allergy to certain substances, some people have a higher risk. Those with a family history of allergies, such as hay fever or asthma, have an increased risk. Having one parent with an allergy can result in a 33 percent chance of developing one, while having two parents with them can lead to a 70 percent chance.

Other factors that can lead to a higher risk of allergic reactions include having asthma or at least one allergic condition. Those who have one allergy might be more likely to develop more of them. Children also have an increased risk of developing an allergy compared to adults, although some eventually outgrow these as they get older. Adults and children who are exposed to an allergen when their immune system is weaker might also have a higher risk of getting an allergy.

Underlying Causes

Researchers don’t fully understand what causes allergies to develop. Even those with a family history of allergies won’t necessarily end up with them. Researchers believe that the exact cause of these reactions is a result of several factors coming together, although more research is needed to determine exactly what these factors are.

Common Allergens

There are several different substances that can trigger allergic reactions in people. Some of these reactions affect the nasal passages and sinuses, while others mainly affect the lungs. Some allergens trigger skin reactions, such as hives or rashes.

Common types of allergens known to affect humans include the following:

  • Animal dander
  • Dust mites
  • Insect stings
  • Pollen, ragweed and other airborne allergens that come from trees, bushes and other vegetation
  • Mold
  • Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish and certain other foods
  • Medications, such as penicillin
  • Latex

Allergy Relief

Those who suffer from allergies can often find relief from different types of treatments. These include taking medications that help ease symptoms, receiving immunotherapy injections and avoiding known allergens. Balloon sinuplasty can also provide relief. This technique involves using a small balloon to open up the nasal passages and reduce inflammation.

If you would like more information on allergies and sinus issues, please consult with the American Sinus Institute. We offer balloon sinuplasty, which is an effective way to relieve allergy symptoms.  Contact us for more information.