This is the time of year when the weather starts to change from winter to spring, flowers start to bloom, bees start to buzz all around and unfortunately everyone seems to be talking about “allergies.”
Millions of people suffer from allergies. The causes of allergies range from pet dander, pollen, foods and a variety of other items. This article will discuss Allergic Sinusitis, which commonly becomes Chronic Sinusitis after long periods of misdiagnosis, or failure to remedy and treat the problem. This article will explain how seasonal and perennial culprits trigger allergies, and why certain people are more at risk of becoming chronic sinusitis sufferers than others. It will also provide some simple suggestions to control the environmental factors contributing to airborne antigens you breathe into your nasal cavity.
Allergic Sinusitis is the immune reaction to airborne antigens you breathe into your nasal cavity. Allergies are an abnormal reaction of the body to an antigen. They manifest with itchy eyes, runny nose, wheezing, skin rash or diarrhea. Those antigens include:
- Dried food particles
- Mold spores, pollen
- Fabric fibers
- Animal dander
- Insect parts, especially those of dust mites, and cockroaches
- Industrial chemicals (including cigarette smoke)
- Seasonal culprits (see list below)
- Perennial culprits (see list below)
Seasonal culprits that cause allergies:
- Late March and early April: Tree pollen which seems to turn the world yellow.
- Spring and late summer: The problem is predominately ragweed, which effects 75% of seasonal sufferers.
- October and November: Mold spores are your number one suspect growing on fallen leaves.
Perennial culprits that cause allergies:
- Pet dander
- The upholstery of your favorite lounger
Allergic Sinusitis blocks the nasal cavities because of a histamine reaction and does not let the mucus drain freely. Also, like other forms of Sinusitis, symptoms vary from person to person. While one person may have all the symptoms, someone else may have only one or two of them.
Chronic Sinusitis, which is commonly confused with a sinus infection, is an inflammation of the mucus-lined, air filled spaces in your skull that connect to the nose and throat. When the sinuses become clogged, inflamed, blocked or swollen, air and other fluids (pus or other secretions) can be trapped, creating vacuums and/or pressure which cause pain, often intense pain. Clogged sinuses can also invite infection.
The conventional view of Sinusitis stipulates that it is caused by viral infection, bacterial infection, or rarely, a fungal infection. This view also states Sinusitis occurs when the body’s immune system is unable to stop harmful bacteria, viruses or fungi from reproducing in the sinuses.
However, research done by the Mayo Clinic in 1999 demonstrates that in 93% of Chronic Sinusitis cases, the infections are symptoms of the Sinusitis, not the cause. In fact, they showed that it was exposure to a mold antigen (medical term for invader) that causes the immune system to react, thereby creating the disease. This phenomenon is due to genetic traits that predispose sufferers to a fungal allergy.
When fungal allergic people breathe in mold spores, their bodies defend themselves against the foreign agents (antigens) by attacking the invader in unusual ways. One way it does this is when the sufferer’s white blood cells releases a large amount of major basic protein that acts like a caustic acid. This “acid” kills the mold, but also causes small pits to form in the sinus membrane. Those pits trap bacteria which get covered with mucus, causing infection. The infection causes nasal polyps and thickening of the sinus lining, obstructing the outflow of mucus, causing more infection. This causes a self-perpetuating cycle.
The answer to getting well in both Allergic and Chronic Sinusitis Cases is to rid your body of the antigen that is causing the problem and that starts with cleaning up your air.If you only treat the symptoms and not the problem, and ignore the environment, you are just going to keep having the same problem. We have included some tips to help you with your treatment in Part Two of this article.