Magazine article USA TODAY

April Showers May Bring Pollen Spores

Magazine article USA TODAY

April Showers May Bring Pollen Spores

Article excerpt

If you are clutching tissues and taking over-the-counter remedies, you may have more than a cold that won't go away. A chronic sinus infection that fails to clear up or continues to recur is often due to allergies. In the spring, pollen allergies are in full bloom. Pollen-producing trees are among the worst offenders, as are grass pollen and the mold that accompanies spring showers.

More than 32,000,000 Americans have ongoing sinus infections. Many sufferers mistake their illness for a lingering cold or take antibiotics, only to have their symptoms return. However, "You don't have to just suffer," indicates Raymond Slavin, professor of internal medicine and director of allergy and immunology, Saint Louis (Mo.) University School of Medicine. "In some cases, we can completely eliminate symptoms or at least make them tolerable."

When allergies strike, the nasal lining swells to the point that it blocks the tiny passages that allow the sinuses to drain. This causes secretions to build up and triggers painful sinus pressure, making the area more susceptible to infection-causing bacteria.

A combination of medication and environmental changes often will do the trick. …

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