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Bad Allergies? Not exactly.

By Nick Markovina

This Happened to Me
When I was a young child at the age of about three years old, I had a sinus infection. This
sinus infection along with some unbeknownst genetic qualities would change my life
forever.

For as long as I can remember, I could only really breathe out of my mouth and
not be able to smell at all. I also used to frequently feel as if there was a blockage in my
nasal passages, and as many would do, I would slightly blow out of my nose to relieve
that feeling. This action would prompt others and family members to frequently ask and
attempt to have me blow my nose, but it was just an unknown fact that blowing my nose
was not possible.

At some point, it became clear that this was an issue, and I was sent
to see a doctor. After having seen many doctors, an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist
was finally able to diagnose me with nasal polyps. The doctor spent about 30 seconds
observing my nasal passages to make this decision, and it took other years to not even
come to a conclusion. Following this diagnosis, I was put in order for surgery and had the nasal polyps that blocked my nasal cavities, along with infected tissue and the honey-
comb bone system behind my nose, removed to attempt to heal my severely affected nasal passages.

While this operation provided much-needed relief, it will not last, and this is the case with many who are affected by this condition. Within less than a year post surgery, I found myself sick and on rounds of antibiotics to combat the chronic sinus
infections I was being plagued with. These sinus infections were indicative of the
rhinosinusitis that was prominent in my sinus systems. I was supposed to have from 5-
10 years until the next surgery, and it seemed almost as if I was going to need it again
before hitting nearly 5 years. Luckily, I was able to treat the re-emergence of these nasal
polyps and continue to shrink and treat them. Although it is nearly impossible to keep them at bay, every time I get sick, they will flare up and create a far worse sickness than
it would be for a non-affected individual. Having these moments where sicknesses will
derail the treatment, missing more than one singular day of my nasal spray and allergy
pill, and having to consistently live with the lack thereof normal nose abilities can be
tiring. Unfortunately, I am not alone in this struggle.

My story is not unique, here’s the problem
This issue is not exactly unique. About 4% of the United States population is affected by
this condition (1). While 4% may not sound like a lot, it is about 13,416,372 people that have to
live with and treat their nasal polyps. The diagnosis is typically an endoscopic observation. My
diagnosis was an endoscopic tube that was similar to the looks of a deep-sea luminescent fish
antenna, and this was inserted into my nose to act as a camera to confirm the polyps. This
diagnosis can come with a few different kinds of treatment. Some affected individuals will be
referred to surgery to remove and correct sinus issues immediately, some will be medicated, and others will choose to stay untreated. Some of the good news about this condition is that it is not lethal (2). However, the quality of life for anyone affected is very poor in comparison to a person who has no disabilities within their nasal system (3). Another side effect of nasal polyps is that it makes breathing out of your nose very difficult which creates a barrier when it comes
to smell and taste. Another risk you are exposed to with nasal polyps is asphyxiation. Some
affected individuals, if their mouth is taped shut or blocked off, will not be able to get
enough air through their nasal cavities and consequently suffer a stroke or death. There are
also complications when it comes to airplane travel and swimming from what I have noticed, and
that resides in the fact that pressure does not act in the same way it would in a normal person’s
nasal cavity as it does mine. All humans have the unfortunate risk of experiencing this, genetics
or not, and it is typically a result of rhinosinusitis, which is the chronic inflammation of the sinuses (4).

Here’s what you (the reader) can do to help, right now
Now that you are aware that every human runs a risk of having this condition, here is
what you can do to help others affected by this. The cause is not exactly known as to why
humans can develop and possess these nasal polyps, but there are organizations that are
attempting to figure out how to prevent and cure this unfortunate condition. The World Allergy
Organization utilizes donated funds to help financially support research that helps shed light on
what would possibly help those affected and better ways of treatment. The organization also
suggests you monitor your sinuses and continue to keep inflammation low as the inflammation
has been linked to these nasal polyps (5). The organization overall is one of the premier
organizations to assist those affected. Some of the work that has been done is better
advertisement of effective allergy information, spreading information of medications to doctors,
and sometimes providing consultation to the individuals affected by chronic allergies. One of the
easiest ways to support this organization in their endeavors is to donate, however, if you cannot
donate, a free way to support is to think twice before you make a mouth breathing, sniffling, or
sneezing comment. You never know what someone is going through and whether or not they
have the remedy to correct this condition.

APA CITATION

Nasal Polyps. (2022, April 12). Www.hopkinsmedicine.org.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/nasal-polyps

World Allergy Organization. (n.d.). Www.worldallergy.org. Retrieved September 17,
2022, from
https://www.worldallergy.org/educational_programs/world_allergy_forum/sydney/pawank
ar.php

Should I Be Worried About Nasal Polyps?: Houston Sinus Surgery: Ear, Nose & Throat
Doctors. (n.d.). Www.houstonsinussurgery.com. Retrieved September 17, 2022, from

https://www.houstonsinussurgery.com/blog/should-i-be-worried-about-nasal-polyps#:~:text=Nasal%20polyps%20are%20a%20fairly

● They suggest to keep inflammation low since there is no exact cause but it is aimed
around the inflammation.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/nasal-polyps
● The reader can donate, help raise awareness, and be sure that they keep their mind
open when someone who may seem sick, really isn’t.

Categories: Home, op ed

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