What Is Allergic Rhinitis?
Around 10-30% of the world’s population suffers from allergic rhinitis. Nearly 8% of the adults experience this and the remaining numbers belong to the children.
Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to a specific allergen. The most common is the pollen of flowers. It occurs seasonally or year-round. It is usually self-diagnosed and self-treated.
It is also known as hay fever.
In rare cases, it gets severe and needs professional medical health.
Allergic rhinitis is not contagious. So it does not spread to anyone by the contact of someone suffering from it.
What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Allergic Rhinitis?
- The most common allergen is pollen: which can be tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Cat saliva
- The saliva of certain insects
- Aerosol sprays
- Air pollution
- Wood smoke
- Smoke from cigarettes
- From a particular food like seafood, brinjal, etc.
Coming in contact with certain allergens causes allergic reactions, which makes our body release a chemical called ‘histamine’ that protects us from any higher complications. So, it helps to get the substance out by sneezing, with the help of chemicals present in our body and other physiological methods of the body.
COMMON SYMPTOMS ARE:
- A runny and stuffy nose
- Coughing and sneezing
- Itchy nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Few occasional headaches
- Eczema: having a dry scale-like appearance on the skin. It causes itching and sometimes the itching worsens with heat and moisture.
- In severe cases, if the person has some respiratory disease like asthma it can cause difficulty in breathing.
- Mild body pains and fever can occur.
Types Of Allergic Rhinitis
There are mainly two types of allergic rhinitis. Those are
- Seasonal: this occurs typically in response to external allergens which might increase with the seasons. Some of them are pollen which typically increases during the summer and springtime.
- Perennial: it occurs all around the year in response to some specific allergens. Some allergens like food, animal fur and saliva. When the person comes in contact with the allergens the symptoms start to show. To avoid severe heightened reactions, the person should take care of their exposure to the specific allergen they are allergic to.
What Are The Treatment Options
- Rinsing the inside of the nose with warm or warm salt water to flush out the irritants and stored mucus.
- Staying away from allergens that one is aware of.
- When suffering from it, taking mild hot water baths can help to feel refreshed.
- Taking of vapors in case of a congested nose.
- Intranasal corticosteroids: taking non-narcotic steroid medicines that help to prevent inflammation and block the action of certain hormones. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Antihistamines: prevent and control the allergic reaction. Some of the antihistamines are:
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Desloratadine (Clarinex)
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Levocetirizine (xyzal)
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- Decongestants: relieves nasal congestion, swelling, runny and itchy nose. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Eye drop or decongestants: helps to improve water and redness of the eyes. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Bronchodilator: helps to release the swelling of the lung passage and clears out the airways which improve breathing. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: prevent swelling of any tissues, organs and parts of the body. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Desensitization: reducing allergic reactions by gradually increasing the doses of injections containing the substances causing it. The substances help to increase the immune system to memorize the causing allergen. So that it can counteract any future allergic reactions. This process is also known as immunotherapy.
- Sublingual immunotherapy: SLIT consists of placing a tablet containing a mixture of several allergens under the tongue. Its working principle is similar to allergy injection shots. Something to care about while undergoing both the processes: immunotherapy and SLIT is that it can cause anaphylactic shock. That is a heightened allergic reaction on the first encounter with an allergen. It can be fatal sometimes. It is better to talk with the doctor before undertaking it.
- Leukotriene inhibitors: a class of chemicals that block the functioning of the allergic reaction. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Cromolyn sodium: it is a type of nasal spray that gives immediate and effective results. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
What Can Be Done At Home: Precautions And Care
- Using a humidifier
- Using a high-efficiency particulate air filter to keep the allergens away.
- Washing sheets, blankets and pillow covers in hot water and disinfectants.
- Vacuuming and keeping the house clean.
- The fever might get better naturally. If it doesn’t then over the counter medicines can help. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Nasal saline irrigation: saltwater washes to keep the nasal passage clear.
- Drinking hot tea with honey can help to comfort the sore and scratchy throat.
- Acupuncture at certain locations can help release the tension.
- Taking probiotics. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Eating healthy and nutritious food.
- Staying active.
- Going for walks and mild exercising.
- Getting adequate rest.
- If the person suffers from any respiratory disease it is better to contact a doctor before proceeding with any medications or home remedies.
- Staying indoors when the pollen count is high.
- Avoiding exercises in grassy lanes.
- Lawn mowing should be avoided.
- Taking a bath immediately after coming from outside.
- It is better to wear a mask while performing any yard work.
- Bathing the pets regularly to avoid any danders.
- Cleaning kitchen and house corners to prevent any molds and dust-mites.
Complications From Allergic Rhinitis
There are some complications that the patient might face:
- Inability to sleep properly due to the symptoms.
- Worsening condition in case of asthma and sinuses patients.
- Frequent er and sinusitis infections
- Frequent productivity
- Fatigue leads to being less productive.
The period of recovery varies from person to person. But it takes less than a month to get healed from the seasonal type of allergic rhinitis. In the case of perennial allergies, the recovery period fluctuates, depending on many factors.
For patients already suffering from asthma and sinuses, it can be a little difficult but one can get through this.
In severe cases, one should not delay in getting proper treatment. After receiving proper treatment, one should follow the timely and proper intake of medications. If necessary, visiting the doctor should also be taken care of.
Though allergic rhinitis becomes severe in a few cases. So it can be easily diagnosed and healed by self.
It is always better to ask for help than to increase the risk of any further complications.
The above-mentioned remedies and medicines; are over the counter medicines (most of them) and are effective in most cases. It is advisable to contact the doctor before taking any medications.
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