The bones around our eyes, nose and cheeks contain hollow chambers to help filter, heat and moisten inhaled air, as well as allowing us to make certain sounds. These chambers are called the sinuses. The different sets of sinuses are named after the bones in which they are found. The four paired chambers surrounding the nasal cavity are called the paranasal sinuses. The frontal sinuses can be found above the eyes, while those below the eyes are called maxillary sinuses. The sphenoidal sinuses are behind the eyes, while the ethmoidal sinuses are between the eyes.
When the paranasal sinuses are inflamed, due to allergy, the result is allergic rhinitis, which can persist for a considerable period if left untreated, and causes symptoms in the eyes, nose, and ears.
Through testing, Novomed’s specialists will be able to determine if your symptoms are related to allergens such as mould spores, pollen, dust mites, animals, etc. Whatever the cause, they will work with you to come up with a personalised treatment plan.
Allergic rhinitis in the UAE is believed to affect more than a third of the population. There are numerous symptoms including:
- Blocked or runny nose
- Post-nasal drip
- Dark circles under the eyes, and/or swollen eyelids
- Red, itchy eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, face and ears
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Headaches and/or facial pain or pressure
- Partial loss of hearing, smell and taste
During your diagnosis, our specialists will review your history and give you a physical exam, looking for typical signs including:
dark circles under your eyes
- red eyes
- swollen nasal tissue
- evidence of a post-nasal drip
Skin testing will confirm the diagnosis and narrow down the cause.
The most obvious first step in addressing allergic rhinitis is to avoid the allergens. This could be simple if there is only one main allergen. Avoiding dust mites, for example, is possible if you implement strict control measures. Apps and weather advisory services also warn of dust storms and give counts for other allergens. You could limit pollen and exposure to outdoor mould by keeping the windows in your car and home closed. However, unless you never leave your house, it is unlikely that you could avoid all environmental allergens. For this reason, our allergists will most likely advise a course of Immunotherapy for you. Over a period of time, you will be injected with the allergen in order for your body to build up a resistance to it.
If complete avoidance of your allergen is impossible, you could consider medication or Immunotherapy. There are prescription medicines with minimal side effects that could help you. The newer antihistamines don’t cause much drowsiness, for example. Prescription nasal cortisone/steroid sprays are usually more effective than allergy pills. Note, however, that these steroid-type nasal sprays are different from ‘systemic’ steroids, which do have significant side effects.
Some patients don’t respond well to medications, and some simply don’t want to take medication daily. For those people, a course of allergy shots, also known as Immunotherapy, is a great option. Allergy injections are very effective. They can be an alternative or given in addition to the other medications. Although they may take three to six months to start working, these injections provide long-lasting relief of symptoms and mean less reliance on drugs. While the shots are starting to work, patients are usually maintained on allergy medications.