Common Allergies

man with sinus problems

Common Allergies

Sinus Center of Atlanta offers allergy testing and treatment for a wide range of common allergies. Once the cause(s) of your allergies have been identified through allergy testing, our physicians will develop a treatment plan to effectively manage your allergy symptoms.


Common allergies treated include:

Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)

The term “rhinitis” refers to a disorder often characterized by symptoms including an itchy runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion from a variety of causes. One of the most common types of rhinitis is allergic rhinitis, also known as nasal allergies. Allergic rhinitis affects between 10 and 30 percent of all adults in the U.S. and around 40 percent of children, with more than 30 million cases each year.

Allergy symptoms are the result of too much immunity. Your immune system produces antibodies to fight infection. If you have allergic rhinitis, your body is producing too much of an antibody known as IgE. The allergy antibody E or (IgE) is made by our immune system in response to an exposure to substances that we refer to as allergens. Allergens are usually environmentally stable foreign substances like pollen that may cause allergic reactions in predisposed individuals.

The allergic response starts when the immune system mistakes perfectly harmless materials (such as pollen and dust) for potentially threatening “invaders”. The defensive process that follows starts with the group of specialized cells known as mast cells, cells that are located in various tissues in the body where harmful materials can gain access – including the nose, eyes, nasal mucosa and lungs. Each mast cell contains a chemical, such as histamine, that triggers the allergic response. When histamine is released into your nose, you will sneeze and have a runny nose. Histamine in the lungs will cause a spasm of the airways or wheezing. If histamine is released from exploding mast cells into the skin, you may experience itching.

If an allergic reaction occurs all over the body, such as with a severe, life-threatening bee sting reaction, it is called anaphylaxis. As long as the body is not exposed to allergens, these chemicals remain inside the mast cells, where they can cause no harm. However, when a sensitive person is exposed to an allergen, the mast cell membranes break down and the chemicals escape (a process called degranulation). Once the chemicals are released from the cells, they go on to trigger the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Pollen Allergy (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis)

Each spring, summer and fall, tiny particles are released from trees, weeds, and grasses. These particles, known as pollen, are transported in currents of air. These particles often enter the nose and throat, triggering an allergic response known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. Of all the things that can cause an allergy, pollen is one of the most widespread. Many of the foods, drugs or animals that cause allergies can be avoided to a great extent, and even insects and household dust are escapable. However, there is no easy way to avoid pollen. When the pollen count is high, staying indoors may not even help.

The types of pollen that most commonly cause allergic reactions are produced by trees, grasses and weeds that do not have showy flowers. These plants manufacture small, light, dry pollen granules that are custom-made for wind transport. Most allergic pollen comes from plants that produce it in huge quantities. For instance, a single ragweed plant can generate a million grains of pollen per day.

Among North American plants, weeds are the most prolific producers of allergenic pollen. Ragweed is the major culprit, but others of importance are lamb’s quarters and English plantain. Grasses and trees are also important sources of allergenic pollens. Although more than 1,000 species of grass grow in North America, only a few produce highly allergenic pollen. These include timothy grass, Kentucky bluegrass, Johnson grass, and Bermuda grass. Trees that produce allergenic pollen include oak, elm, hickory, pecan, and cedar.

Dust Mite Allergy

The house dust mite is a microscopic organism that is a fraction of a millimeter in length and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Dust mites live off of dead skin, which is then excreted with some of their stomach enzymes. It is these stomach enzymes that cause allergic reactions to occur. Exposure to dust mites’ stomach enzymes can lead to allergic rhinitis, asthma and eczema.

Mold Allergy

There are many types of mold, most of which can cause allergic reactions with symptoms similar to those produced by pollen and dust mites. Because molds need a lot of moisture to survive and grow, they usually live in damp or wet areas. Inside the home, bathrooms, basements and garages are prime areas for mold. Outside the home, grass and mulch are common growth locations. Proper ventilation, dehumidifiers and regular cleaning will discourage the growth of mold. Avoiding areas where mold is likely to grow is the best way to reduce your chances of exposure.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis occurs when the clear, thin membrane that covers the eyeball and the inside of the eyelids becomes irritated. If something irritates this covering, the eye may become red and swollen. When an allergen causes this irritation, the condition is known as allergic conjunctivitis. Some common allergens include pollen from trees, grasses and weeds and animal dander. Other causes of conjunctivitis include viral and bacterial infections.

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