We are in the peak of pollen season and pollen is troubling many people with nasal allergies. In North Atlanta, Oak, Hickory and Birch trees are the main source of pollen in past one week.
The pollen or allergen that we inhale, settle in our nasal passages. Our body starts recognizing them as foreign particles and starts making antibodies against them. This reaction leads to swollen nasal passages and also leads to mucus formation in the nose. Usually, it is a clear watery discharge to begin with and then it turns in to thick white mucus. Some of the major symptoms of nasal allergies are:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy and red eyes
Treating nasal allergies can be challenging. There are many different medications available to treat nasal allergies. However, it can be confusing to choose an appropriate over the counter allergy medication that can alleviate symptoms.
A simple and inexpensive approach to treat allergies is to do saline irrigation of nose and sinuses. The basic principle is washing away those allergens and cleaning nasal passages so that the whole cascade of events that follows after we inhale allergens is avoided.
Daily use of saline rinses not only washes out all the allergens but it also decreases the swelling of the nose and removes the thick mucus from nasal passages and sinuses. The irrigation bottle as shows in the picture is easy to use and even a child as old as 5 years can do it. Saline that is used for nasal washes is easy to make at home. Take 2 cups of water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and boil them. Let it cool to room temperature and you are ready to rinse your sinuses!!
Allergies are difficult to treat but getting rid of an allergen is as simple as washing it away with saline!
Monal Shah, MD