What Happens in a Nasal Allergy Attack

What Happens in a Nasal Allergy Attack

Nasal allergy occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies substances in the inhaled air as invaders and launches an attack against them. This immune reaction results in the release of inflammatory substances in the nasal lining. Allergy triggers, known as allergens, can be found anywhere, with common examples including pollen, ragweed, grass, pet dander, dust mites, and mold. Individuals with nasal allergies may be sensitive to one or more of these allergens.

Exposure to allergens can occur during activities such as cleaning, playing with pets, or simply being outdoors during allergy season. Allergic reactions can be triggered by touching, swallowing, or inhaling an allergen. While the immune system typically defends against viruses and bacteria, it reacts differently to allergens, perceiving them as threats. Upon encountering an allergen, the immune system produces antibodies, which then signal mast cells to release chemicals like histamine, leading to inflammation. This inflammation causes symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, and swelling.

Genetics play a significant role in allergies, with individuals more likely to develop allergies if both parents have them. Additionally, an individual’s exposure to allergens can influence which substances they are allergic to.

To prevent allergies, it’s advisable to avoid triggers whenever possible. Checking pollen or mold reports before going outside and wearing a mask during high-trigger times can be beneficial. Showering before bed during allergy season helps remove pollen from hair, and keeping windows closed and using air conditioning can reduce exposure to outdoor allergens. Regular vacuuming can also help minimize indoor allergens.

Treatment for allergies often involves over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, and nasal sprays to alleviate symptoms. For severe or unidentified allergies, it’s recommended to consult a doctor, allergist, or immunologist. Allergy tests may be conducted to identify specific triggers, and treatment options may include prescription medications or allergy shots.