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Nose & Sinus

Nasal Allergies - Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, often called allergies or hay fever, occurs when your immune system overreacts to particles in the air that you breathe-you are allergic to them. Your immune system attacks the particles in your body, causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, and itchy ears, nose, and throat. The particles are called allergens, which simply means they can cause an allergic reaction.

People with allergies usually have symptoms for many years. You may have symptoms often during the year, or just at certain times. You also may get other problems such as sinusitis and ear infections as a result of your allergies.

Over time, allergens may begin to affect you less, and your symptoms may not be as severe as they had been.

Nasal Obstruction

Young children are more likely than older children or adults to put small objects-such as beads, dried beans, popcorn, plastic toy pieces, foam rubber, or small batteries-up their noses. If the child doesn't tell you about it, your first clue may be a bad-smelling green or yellow discharge or blood (epistaxis) from one of the child's nostrils. The child's nose may also be tender and swollen, and may have trouble breathing.

Nose Bleeds

Most nosebleeds are not usually serious and can be stopped with home treatment. Most nosebleeds occur in the front of the nose (anterior epistaxis) and involve only one nostril. Some blood may drain down the back of the nose into the throat. Some medical problems may also cause nosebleeds:

  • An abnormal structure inside the nose, such as nasal polyps or a deviated nasal septum
  • Colds, allergies, or sinus infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Blood clotting disorders, such as hemophilia, leukemiathrombocytopenia, or von Willebrand's disease
  • Abnormal blood vessels in the nose, such as with Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome. This syndrome is passed in families (inherited). The abnormal blood vessels make it hard to control a nosebleed.

A less common but more serious type of nosebleed starts in the back of the nose (posterior epistaxis) and often involves both nostrils. Large amounts of blood may run down the back of the throat. Posterior epistaxis occurs more often in older adults because of other health conditions they may have. Medical treatment will be needed to control the bleeding from posterior epistaxis.