- What is allergic rhinitis?
- What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
- Types of allergic rhinitis
- Treatment of allergic rhinitis
- Preventing allergic rhinitis
What is allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is an allergic inflammation of the nasal mucosa, which is manifested by stuffy nose, itchiness, sneezing, etc. It is one of the most common allergic diseases. According to the data of 2022, 10-30% of adults and 40% of children in the world suffer from this disease.
The causes of allergic rhinitis are respiratory allergens in the environment, such as tree, herb and weed pollen, house dust mites, moulds, flakes of skin from animals, etc. Special changes occur in the mucous membrane of the nose of a person suffering from this disease in relation to one or more of the mentioned allergens and allergic inflammation occurs, the symptoms of which disrupt the daily life of the patient with rhinitis.
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
- The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are,
- runny nose,
- frequent sneezing,
- nasal congestion,
- itching of the nose, ears, palate, sometimes a scratchy feeling in the throat,
- Allergic rhinitis is often accompanied by allergic conjunctivitis, inflammation of the conjunctiva, in which symptoms are added to,
- tear flow,
- itching and redness of the eyes.
Types of allergic rhinitis
There are 2 types of allergic rhinitis:
Seasonal (hay fever): distinguished by the fact that the symptoms are actively manifested only in a certain season of the year. It is caused by an allergy to pollen and/or mold spores in the air. Pollen is the fine powder that comes from flowering plants. It can be carried through the air and is easily inhaled. Symptoms are seasonal and usually occur in spring, late summer, and fall. This is the most common form of allergy.
Perennial: Caused by other allergens such as house dust mites, pet hair or dander, mold etc. Symptoms occur year-round.
Treatment of allergic rhinitis
- Despite unpleasant symptoms, allergic rhinitis has an effective treatment. Avoiding contact with the allergen is one of the effective measures. The goal of allergic rhinitis treatment is to reduce or prevent symptoms caused by inflammation of the involved tissues. The allergist will help you determine what medicine is best for you depending on your symptoms, age, and overall health.
- If you are pregnant, your doctor will advise what medications are safe for you to take. Some allergy symptoms during pregnancy are a naturally occurring part of being pregnant and not allergic rhinitis.
- Several medicines can be used to treat allergies. These medicines help prevent symptoms if you use them regularly, before you’re exposed to allergens:
- Nasal steroid sprays reduce the reaction of the nasal tissues to inhaled allergens. This helps relieve the swelling in the nose. They are the most effective at treating patients who have chronic symptoms. Many nasal steroids are now available without a prescription.
- Antihistamines help reduce the sneezing, runny nose, and itchiness of allergies. These come in pill form and as nasal sprays. Many are available over the counter. Some require a prescription.
- Cromolyn sodium is a nasal spray that helps prevent the body’s reaction to allergens. This medicine may take 2 to 4 weeks to start working. It is available without a prescription.
- Eye drops. If your other medicines are not helping enough with your itchy, watery eyes, your doctor may prescribe eye drops for you. Some are available over the counter.
- Allergy shots or sublingual tablets(also called immunotherapy) are an option for people who try other treatments but still have allergy symptoms. These shots or dissolvable tablets contain a very small amount of the allergen you are allergic to. They’re given on a regular schedule so that your body gets used to the allergens. This helps decrease your body’s sensitivity to the allergens. Over time, your allergy symptoms will become less severe.
Preventing allergic rhinitis
There are no proven ways to prevent the disease. But you can help to avoid the things that cause your symptoms.
- Keep windows closed. This is especially important during high-pollen seasons.
- Wash your hands after petting animals.
- Use dust- and mite-proof bedding and mattress covers.
- Wear glasses outside to protect your eyes.
- Shower before bed to wash off allergens from hair and skin.
- You can also avoid things that can make your symptoms worse, such as:
- Aerosol sprays
- Air pollution
- Cold temperatures
- Irritating fumes
- Tobacco smoke
- Wood smoke
Living with allergic rhinitis
Living with the symptoms of allergic rhinitis can affect your daily life. Nasal symptoms can be worse when lying down. This can disturb your ability to sleep well. Fatigue and headaches can affect your ability to function at school and work.
There is also a link between asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis. Therefore, getting good control of allergic rhinitis is crucial for maintaining good control of asthma.
There are many medicines and treatments that can help you manage your symptoms. Consult your doctor when you feel that your symptoms are getting worse or are not easy to control. Your doctor can help you to control allergies so they don’t affect your ability to live your normal life.