Many of us are all too familiar with the discomfort of an allergic reaction. Between itchy eyes, congestion, runny nose, sinus pressure, sneezing and a scratchy throat, the face becomes quite the hot spot for your symptoms. What many don’t know is allergies can also affect your ears.
What Causes an Allergic Reaction?
Your immune system protects your body from diseases, viruses and infections. But some people’s immune systems mistake harmless substances such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, certain foods, mold or insect stings as a dangerous intruder. An allergic reaction occurs when your body is exposed to one of these allergens and your immune system overreacts.
In order to fight off the intruder, your immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which cause your cells to release histamine. Histamine increases your mucus production and causes swelling and itching; this is the source of your allergy symptoms.
Allergies Can Cause Ear Pain
Earaches are far from being the most common symptom of allergies, but some people certainly experience them during a reaction. This is because the membrane lining the Eustachian tubes – which are responsible for equalizing pressure and draining fluid from the middle ear – can become swollen and inflamed after contact with an allergen. This inflammation can lead to imbalance of pressure in the ears and fluid buildup, causing an earache or blocked ear.
Allergies Can Cause Ear Infections
If you have allergies, you’re also at a greater risk of an ear infection. As stated above, an allergic reaction that triggers swelling in the membranes of the ear can lead to blockage and fluid buildup, which sets the stage for an infection.
When fluid becomes trapped in the ear, it becomes a prime spot for bacteria growth, causing an infection. Symptoms of an ear infection, also known as otitis media, include pain, pressure, redness, drainage, dizziness and tinnitus.
Some people also experience loss of hearing due to allergies. Fortunately, this tends to be temporary and resolve with the rest of your allergy symptoms.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with the experts, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.