Question: I have allergies and about twice a year I get a really bad head cold which takes away my smell or taste. I will be starting allergy injections soon and do you think they will help?
Thanks for your question. Sinus infections are caused by persistent blockage to the sinus drainage passages. Anything that causes a persistent swelling in the lining of the nose can predispose us to a sinus infection. This can be from an anatomic abnormality, (such as a deviated septum) a prolonged viral infection, (perhaps after the flu or other prolonged cold), environmental irritants (cold weather, chemicals, dust), reflux of gastric acid as high as the nose, and of course allergies. There can be more than one of these problems in each person.
Treatment for recurrent infections includes finding the cause or causes of the blockage and treating or removing them. If you have allergies, frequently we will try to remove the allergen, if possible- (get rid of a feather pillow if you have feather allergies, lessen dust in the home if you have dust allergies)- medical treatment such as antihistamines (orally or nasal sprays), nasal steroid sprays (such as Flonase or Nasonex) and saline rinses to remove the allergen from your nose faster.
Should your allergic and sinus problems persist- and you have significant allergies- we would then recommend desensitization. (allergy shots). They can definitely help reduce nasal allergies and nasal congestion and therefore sinus infections in many individuals.
I hope this clears things up.
Robert Pincus MD- Associate Professor Otolaryngology
Co-Director NY Sinus Center
NY Otolaryngology Group