Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever is inflammation of the nasal membrane which is caused by reaction of the immune system to the allergens present in the atmosphere such as dust, animal dander or pollen. Sometime allergy to certain food items can also be seen.
Allergic rhinitis is usually seen at change of seasons as there is lot of pollen in the atmosphere.
TYPES OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS:
Seasonal (hay fever): symptoms are seasonal and are seen in spring, summer and early winters. The allergens are pollens or molds. Pollen ia a fine powder which comes from stamen of the flowering plants.
Perennial: people having this type of allergy experience symptoms year-round. They are allergic to dust mites, pet hair, animal dander, cockroaches, molds. Food allergies rarely cause rhinitis symptoms.
TRIGGERS FOR ALLERGIC RHINITIS:
- Pollens from grass, trees and weeds
- Pet hair or dander
- Dust mites and mold
- Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, perfume and diesel exhaust
- Cold temperature
- Sudden change of temperature
- Air pollution and fumes
RISK FACTORS FOR ALLERGIC RHINITIS:
- Family history of allergic rhinitis
- Food allergies
- highly sanitized living conditions and reduced exposure to diverse allergens
Repeated exposure to
- Seed dust
- Wood dust
- Animal dander
- Textile dust
- Rubber latex
- Certain foods and spices
- Storage mites
- Odors and fumes (such as smoking or air pollution)
COMPLICATIONS OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS:
- Sleep loss
- Daytime fatigue
- Learning impairment
- Decreased overall cognitive functioning
- Decreased long-term productivity
- Decreased quality of life
- Acute and chronic sinusitis
- Recurrence of nasal polyps
- Otitis media/otitis media with effusion
- Hearing impairment
- Abnormal craniofacial development
- Sleep apnea and related complications
- Aggravation of underlying asthma
- Increased propensity to develop asthma
SYMPTOMS & CAUSES
- Runny nose and nasal congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itchy nose, ears, or throat
- Sinus pressure
- Dark circles under your eyes—allergic shiners
- Postnasal drip
- Fatigue due to poor disturbed sleep
- Decreased sense of smell and taste
- Chronic cough
- Stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion
Allergic rhinitis is caused by release of histamine when there is exposure to any allergen such as pollen. Histamine is a natural defence of the body to prevent against the allergens.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
- Detailed history with appropriate symptoms
- Skin prick or scratch test: in this test tiny amount of possible allergen in pricked or scratched in the outer layer of skin and a small red bump shows positive results.
- Intradermal administration of allergen can show more reliable result.
The conventional treatment for allergic rhinitis includes antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, steroids, nasal steroid sprays and even allergy shots etc are given which do give temporary relief by suppressing the symptoms but have many side effects.
- Advice on avoiding the allergen should be given so that the symptoms are not triggered at first hand.
- The patient should be advised to stay more indoors in peak season for pollens.
- Pollen masks should be advised.
- Wash hands and cleanup after staying with the pets.
- Mopping should be done with wet mop directly as dry dusting and mopping would aggravate the symptoms.
- Dehumidifiers would help people allergic in damp conditions.
- Breathing exercises would help improving the symptoms.
Homeopathic medicines are very well known to help the issues related to allergies. Allergic rhinitis can be taken care off with homeopathic medicines permanently and without any side effects. There are many medicines which can give relief instantly. Since there are no side effects of the medicines anyone can take them and get relieved from the symptoms without any steroids.
DO's And DON'Ts
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
- Take showers immediately after being outside.
- Keep your windows and doors shut as frequently as possible during allergy season.
- Keep your mouth and nose covered while performing yard work.
- Bathe your dog at least twice per week to minimize dander.
- Remove carpeting from your bedroom if you’re concerned about dust mites.
- Eat healthy diet.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid exercising outdoors early in the morning.
- Try not to rake leaves or mow the lawn.
- Don't rub your eyes.