If you’re experiencing itchy, watery eyes, congestion, runny nose, sneezing or sore throat, you have your allergies to thank. Another symptom you can add to the list is ear pain, which may be the result of inflammation or infection caused by allergies. Below we review what causes allergy symptoms, the types of ear pain associated with allergies and how to seek treatment.
What Causes Allergy Symptoms?
The immune system’s job is to protect your body from diseases, viruses and infections. But for people with allergies, the immune system mistakes harmless substances, known as allergens, like pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold and certain foods as dangerous intruders and attacks.
To fight the intruder, the immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which causes your cells to release histamine. Histamine increases mucus production and causes inflammation. In short, it’s this chemical that’s responsible for your allergy symptoms.
Types of Ear Pain Caused by Allergies
Ear pain caused by allergies may be due to inflammation of the Eustachian tubes or an ear infection.
The Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the nose/throat and are responsible for equalizing pressure between the middle ear and your environment. These tubes are one of the body parts that can become inflamed during an allergy attack.
If the Eustachian tubes become inflamed, it can prevent air from moving through them. The result is pressure in the ears that causes ear pain.
In addition to allowing air to move through the ears, the Eustachian tubes also allow fluid to drain. When they become blocked due to inflammation, fluid can build up behind the eardrum, which is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. The result is an ear infection.
Symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Ear pain/pressure
- Drainage from the ear
- Reducing hearing
Treating Ear Pain Caused by Allergies
Below are some treatments for ear pain caused by allergies:
- Rest in an upright position to reduce pressure in the middle ear
- Put a cold pack on the outer ear for 20 minutes
- Chew gum to encourage air to pass through the ears
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
- Talk to a doctor if the pain persists more than 10 days or if you have a fever
To manage allergies, the experts at Pinnacle ENT Associates recommend:
- Practicing avoidance of allergens, like staying away from Clark Park when pollen counts are high
- Taking a daily antihistamine
- Talking to an allergist about immunotherapy
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.