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Got Allergies? Doctor Explains Why

Pollen, dust, and other airborne culprits may be responsible for your “allergic rhinitis,” a doctor said Thursday.

Allergens in the home, including hairs from cats and dogs and even rodents, and outdoors, including pollen from trees, grass and weeds, can be the cause, Dr. Taing Tek Hong, told “Hello VOA” Thursday.

“I always sneeze in the air-conditioned room,” one caller said Thursday. “My doctor said I have an allergy. How do I treat it?”

“This case is thought to occur because of the abnormal regulation of nasal blood flow and may be induced by temperature fluctuations in the environment, such as, cold or dry air, or irritants, such as air pollution, smog, tobacco smoke, car exhaust, or strong odors such as, detergents or fragrances,” Taing Tek Hong said. “The primary treatment is simply avoiding the things that trigger your symptoms. In some cases, decongestants or nasal spray containing an antihistamine may help.Corticosteroid nasal sprays may be useful for some forms of vasomotor rhinitis.”

Another caller asked about nasal polyps and how to cure them.

“Nasal polyps are associated with chronic inflammation of the lining of your nasal passages and sinuses,” Taing Tek Hong said. “If you have nasal polyps, you may experience some of the following signs and symptoms: runny nose, stuffiness, postnasal drip, snoring, itching around your eyes, facial pain or headache.”

“Drug treatments may include nasal Corticosteroids,” he said. “If a nasal corticosteroid isn’t effective, your doctor may prescribe prednisone alone or in combination with a nasal spray.”

“Your doctor may prescribe drugs to treat conditions that contribute to chronic inflammation in your sinuses or nasal passages,” he said. “These may include antihistamines to treat allergies and antibiotics to treat a chronic infection. If the drug treatment doesn’t shrink or eliminate nasal polyps, your doctor may recommend surgery.

“Small or isolated polyps can be completely removed by using a small mechanical suction device or a microdebrider,” he said, “an instrument that cuts and extracts soft tissue. Another type of surgery is endoscopic sinus surgery. The surgeon inserts an endoscope, a small tube with a magnifying lens or tiny camera, into your nostrils.”

A third caller asked how to treat a child’s nosebleed.

“Sit him down and lean slightly forward,” the doctor suggested. “Put an ice pack across the bridge of his nose. Nosebleeds occur because of minor irritation or injury to the small veins in the partition that divides the two sides of the nose. These veins may rupture. The rupture may be caused by a sneeze or a cough that raises the blood pressure inside the veins of the nose.”