How Allergies Affect Your Ears, Nose, and Throat

When your body is exposed to a foreign substance, you may have no reaction at all. However, if you notice you have a runny rose, sore throat, or scratchy eyes — you may be having an allergic reaction. Keep reading to learn how allergies can affect the health of your ear, nose, and throat.

Allergies and Your Nose

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is the term typically used to describe the allergic reaction that happens in your nose. You may have uncontrollable sneezing or a runny and stuffy nose.

Nasal Spray for Allergy Relief

If you suffer from severe allergies or frequent sinus infections, you’re probably all too familiar with the fast-acting power of nasal spray. And while these sprays can clear a stuffy nose in seconds, not all nasal sprays are created equal.

There are four common types of nasal sprays on the market today:

  • Saline: Because saline sprays are made from mostly salt and water, they’re safe to use every day.
  • Antihistamine: These sprays are typically used to relieve congestion and usually cause less drowsiness than antihistamine pills, and are available by all available over the counter. Talk to one of our Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia board-certified allergy specialists about which one we recommend. 
  • Steroid: These sprays can be used as a preventative measure and to control allergy symptoms. They are available over the counter and can be used daily during allergy season to provide relief.
  • Decongestant: Decongestant sprays are popular because they instantly shrink the blood vessels in your nose and alleviate congestion. However, they can also cause “nasal spray addiction.” This is because people find themselves needing the spray to breathe easily even when allergies are not making them congested.

If you find it difficult to relieve your nasal pressure, speak to one of our Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia board-certified allergy specialists about the possibility of allergy shots to find relief.

Allergies and Your Throat

Your throat is responsible for many functions from eating and drinking to talking and breathing, so it’s important to pay attention to any changes in your throat health.

Treating Allergic Laryngitis

Laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box that occurs when your vocal cords are overused or infected, causing voice loss or voice distortion (being hoarse). While laryngitis can be a sign of a more serious condition, like the flu, it can also occur when one inhales an allergen, like dust or pollen.

While these home remedies may not alleviate your symptoms entirely, they may be able to help until your visit with one of our Center for Allergy and Asthma specialists:

  • Resting your voice for several hours to a few days.
  • Taking allergy medication as prescribed.
  • Gargling with salt water 2-3 times a day.
  • Breathing in the steam from a hot shower or boiling pot.

Allergies and Postnasal Drip

Your body is always producing mucus, even when you don’t realize it. Mucus is responsible for keeping your throat moist so that you can talk, breathe, and eat throughout the day. But what happens if your body starts making too much mucus? This is what we refer to as postnasal drip.

From allergies to a cold or sinus infection, postnasal drip can be caused by a number of ailments. And while postnasal drip typically isn’t cause for concern, it can be annoying to deal with. If postnasal drip has you feeling congested, consider:

  • Using a neti pot to naturally clear out your sinuses.
  • Taking a hot shower — steam is also a natural decongestant.
  • Drinking plenty of water.
  • Using a saline nasal spray
  • Talking to your allergist about immunotherapy for lasting relief from sinus infections. Speak to one of our Center for Allergy and Asthma specialists about the possibility of allergy shots or drops.

Allergies and Your Ears

Allergies can cause your outer ear to itch and swell, while the inner ear can fill with fluid — leaving you vulnerable to developing an ear infection. If you experience ear pain or discomfort during allergy season, consult with one of our Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia board-certified allergy specialist about the possibility of allergy shots to find relief.

Top Ways to Clean Your Ears

Aside from letting soap and water run down your face in the shower, when was the last time you cleaned your ears? While they don’t need to be washed as often as your hands, for example, you should be giving your ears a good cleaning every few days.

The next time you’re in the bathroom, clean your ears with:

  • Warm water: After you get out of the shower, rub a cotton swab on the outside area of your ear. Just make sure to never insert a cotton swab inside your ear, as they’ve been known to cause burst eardrums.
  • Saltwater: If you feel wax building up inside of your ear, remove it with a mixture of one teaspoon of salt per half cup of warm water. Allow a little to drip inside of your ear while you lay on your side. After about one minute, sit up and let the waterfall out onto a washcloth or napkin.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Using hydrogen peroxide is another great way to eliminate stubborn ear wax. Similar to using a saltwater solution, pour a few drops into your ear and lay on your side for a minute. Then, sit up and let the solution drain from your ear.

Don’t Use Cotton Swabs Inside of Your Ear

As we mentioned earlier, you should never stick a cotton swab inside of your ear because you risk puncturing your eardrum and causing permanent damage. If you are going to use a cotton swab, it should only be for the outside folds of your ear.

Keep Your Ears Dry

Especially in the summer when people spend more time in pools and lakes, excess moisture makes it easier for bacteria to grow in your ear canal. If you feel the water in your ear after swimming or coming out of the shower, tilt your head to the side and let the water drip out. If that doesn’t work, you may want to look into over the counter drops that eliminate water.

Treating Your Allergies with Immunotherapy

For many patients, these measures are not enough to provide relief for their allergy symptoms. Allergen immunotherapy ( also known as allergy shots) prescribed by Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia, can reduce allergy symptoms and any associated sinus or ear infections 80-90%. Consult with one of our Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia specialists. to find the treatment plan right for you.

Allergy Treatment in Metro Atlanta

At the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia, our highly-qualified medical team provides diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose and throat conditions that may be caused by chronic conditions like asthma or allergies. Speak to one of our Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia board-certified allergy specialists about the possibility of allergy shots to find relief.

Our board-certified doctors understand that these conditions may cause severe discomfort, and offer a no-wait appointment policy that ensures you receive immediate care.

Schedule your same-day appointment with Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia today! Our team of board-certified allergy specialists will discuss your options and recommend an appropriate course of treatment. Contact us at (770) 459-0620 or visit us online to book your appointment.

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