We provide leading-edge medical and surgical treatment for rhinosinusitis and hay fever.

Every spring, summer and fall, tiny grains of pollen are released from trees, weeds and grasses. Some of the pollen ends up in your nose and throat. This can trigger a type of allergy called hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. Symptoms include sneezing, runny or clogged nose, coughing, itching eyes, nose and throat, red and watery eyes, or dark circles under the eyes.

Rhinosinusitis, or sinusitis, occurs when your sinuses, the hollow air spaces within the bones surrounding the nose, are inflamed. Your sinuses produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nose is swollen, this can block the sinuses and cause pain. Rhinosinusitis can be caused by an infection or allergies. Symptoms include fever, weakness, fatigue, cough, congestion and postnasal drip.

Types of rhinosinusitis

There are several types of rhinosinusitis

  • Acute, which lasts up to four weeks
  • Subacute, which lasts four to 12 weeks
  • Chronic, which lasts more than 12 weeks and can continue for months or even years
  • Recurrent, with several attacks within a year

In people with allergies, the immune system mistakenly identifies normal environmental substances like dust mites, pollens or animal dander, that are not usually harmful, as dangerous foreign invaders. To repel these "dangerous invaders," the immune system responds by causing inflammation, resulting in itchy eyes, runny nose and all the other bothersome symptoms allergy sufferers know only too well. This inflammation can block sinus drainage and normal Eustachian tube (ear tube) function, resulting in inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis).

What causes rhinosinusitis and hay fever?

There are multiple factors that may lead to rhinosinusitis, although in many cases the underlying cause may not be known. Some of the potential underlying causes or contributing factors include:

  • Allergy
  • Anatomical variance, such as septal deviation
  • Infection (usually viral or bacterial)
  • Poor function of the sinus immune system due to
    • Medications, such as chemotherapy
    • Primary immunodeficiency disorders

Hay fever is caused by the pollen from trees, grasses or weeds. Hay fever often leads to rhinosinusitis.

How does Ohio State diagnose rhinosinusitis and hay fever?

Your physician may diagnose hay fever based on a physical exam and your symptoms. Sometimes skin or blood tests are used. Tests and procedures may be used to accurately diagnose rhinosinusitis. Nasal endoscopy is an in-office evaluation that allows your doctor to look for:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Sinus infection
  • Nasal tumors
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks

Nasal endoscopy is also often used after surgery to help clean the sinus passages and improve healing.

Computed tomography (CT) scans are also frequently helpful in diagnosing rhinosinusitis. CT scans allow your doctor to identify signs of sinus inflammation, sinus tumors and other abnormalities that may benefit from medical or surgical treatment.

How does Ohio State treat rhinosinusitis and hay fever?

Taking medicines and using nasal sprays can relieve hay fever symptoms. You can also rinse out your nose using distilled or sterilized water with saline. Allergy shots can help make you less sensitive to pollen and provide long-term relief.

Treatment of sinusitis includes antibiotics, decongestants and pain relievers. Using heat pads on the inflamed area, saline nasal sprays and vaporizers can also alleviate symptoms.

Causes

There are multiple factors that may lead to rhinosinusitis, although in many cases the underlying cause may not be known. Some of the potential underlying causes or contributing factors include:

  • Allergy
  • Anatomical variance, such as septal deviation
  • Infection (usually viral or bacterial)
  • Poor function of the sinus immune system due to
    • Medications, such as chemotherapy
    • Primary immunodeficiency disorders

Diagnosis

Tests and procedures may be used to accurately diagnose rhinosinusitis. Nasal endoscopy is an in-office evaluation that allows your doctor to look for:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Sinus infection
  • Nasal tumors
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks

Nasal endoscopy is also often used after surgery to help clean the sinus passages and improve healing.

Computed tomography (CT) scans are also frequently helpful in diagnosing rhinosinusitis. CT scans allow your doctor to identify signs of sinus inflammation, sinus tumors and other abnormalities that may benefit from medical or surgical treatment.


Treatment

We aim to provide personalized, effective management for the entire range of disorders affecting the nose and sinuses. We offer contemporary medical management and, when necessary, comprehensive surgical treatment. Our physicians are experts in a wide range of sinus procedures, including difficult revision surgery, minimally invasive open approaches and minimally invasive endoscopic procures, including in-office procedures.

Why Choose Ohio State?

Specialty trained: As fellowship physicians, many of our doctors have comprehensive subspecialty training. Our extensive hands-on experience is in treating disorders of the nose, sinuses and anterior skull base, from routine to complex. We are a referral center for complex sinus and nasal procedures because we perform them on a daily basis. 

Patient-centered: We’ve been recognized multiple times for our outstanding achievement in patient service and satisfaction.

Nationally ranked: OSU Wexner Medical Center is recognized by U.S.News & World Report one of the nation’s best hospitals for care of the ear, nose and throat.


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