With the start of the spring comes the buzzing of the bees. New flowers and fruits begin to take their shape, all thanks to the spread of pollen. It truly is a beautiful time of year; however, some people may be susceptible to allergies that are caused by the pollen in the air. This beauty can easily be overshadowed by sniffles, coughs and watery eyes.
How Pollen Causes Allergies
Pollen is a very common allergy, and it can be spread in more ways than just the bees. Pollen can be spread by other animals, wind, and humans. Bees are the only species, however, that purposefully spread the pollen to promote the growth of flowers and plants. All others can carry pollen by brushing against or stepping on plants, or even having the wind transfer pollen onto them.
Symptoms Outside of Allergies
Though pollen may be a common source of allergies or sinus issues during this time, some people may experience something other than allergies. People who feel stuffy or runny noses, pressure in the face and head, and watery eyes may be experiencing a sinus infection. It can be difficult to differentiate between the two, but not impossible.
Constant Sinus Problems
People can begin to take action by noting if there is a trigger for the symptoms. For instance, if symptoms worsen when it’s windier, or if symptoms are more profound with a certain plant or smell present. From here, a person can begin trying over the counter medications. If a patient’s symptoms persist with little to no relief; they should see a doctor. For these allergy-like symptoms, a person should consider seeing an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT).
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When to See a Specialist
A specialist will be able to help a person understand why you are feeling pressure in the face and head. An ENT doctor can look in the sinuses or take images (such as CT scans) that show if it is a sinus problem and, if so, specifically where the problem is located. From there, the doctor may suggest antibiotics, or they may suggest a more long-term fix for the issue. Some non-surgical procedures that exist, such as Balloon Sinuplasty, that can help eliminate sinus problems. This specific procedure can be done in-office and have little to no downtime.
How an Ear Nose and Throat Doctor Can Help
An ENT can help look further into seeing why a person is experiencing congestion, pressure in the face, sneezing and more. Some ENTs, like Dr. Nalbone, have a CT scanner in the office so they can see what is happening on the inside (which takes out much of the “guesswork”), and assist them in suggesting the best way to help a patient feel better.
If an ENT believes a patient is experiencing allergies, they can refer a patient to an allergist, or suggest a patient take an allergy test. If an ENT finds that it is something other than allergies, like a sinus infection, they can suggest different medications such as antibiotics, over the counter medications, or they may advise a patient to consider procedures that can help them more long-term. The balloon sinuplasty procedure, for example, is one that is done in office, has very little downtime, and can provide long lasting relief.
So, don’t blame it on the bees. See what the real buzz is about and visit an ENT. Whether it is springtime allergies brought on by pollen, or chronic sinusitis, an ear, nose and throat doctor can help a patient find the cause of their symptoms and start them on the path to feeling better sooner.