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Nasal Allergies: Related Problems

Allergies can cause nasal passages to swell. This narrows the air passags. Allergies also cause increased mucus production in the nose. These changes result in nasal allergy symptoms. Common symptoms include itching, sneezing, stuffy nose, and runny nose. Nasal allergies can also cause problems in other parts of the respiratory system. Some of the more common problems are discussed below. If you think you have any of these problems, talk to your health care provider about treatment options.

Outline of man's head and chest with head turned to side. Inside of nose and mouth are visible. Trachea leads from throat and branches into lungs. Sinuses are spaces in head, some filled with fluid with swollen lining from nasal allergies. Polyps are deep inside nose. Fluid dripping from nose lining down back of throat. Eye is red and swollen.

Sinus infections

Fluid may be trapped in the sinuses. Bacteria may grow in trapped fluid. This causes sinus infection (sinusitis).

Conjunctivitis

Allergens irritate your eyes, including the lining of the conjunctiva. This causes eyes to become red, itchy, puffy, and watery.

Ear problems

The eustachian tube connects the middle ear to nasal passages.  Allergies can block this tube, and make the ears feel plugged. Fluid may also build up, leading to an ear infection (otitis media).

Nasal polyps

Allergies cause nasal passages to swell. Constant swelling can lead to formation of a sac called a polyp. Polyps can grow large enough to block nasal passages.

Asthma

Asthma is inflammation and swelling of the air passages in the lungs. The symptoms are wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness. Allergies, including nasal allergies, are common in people with asthma.

Online Medical Reviewer: Hollaway, Beth, RN, M.Ed
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 5/9/2014
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