Allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever, and it is one of the most common diseases worldwide. Its global prevalence is around 10 to 40% of people affected each year, including both children and adults. As the name indicates, it is an allergic response that causes inflammation of the nose and respiratory tract. It can be seasonal, i.e., occur during spring or fall season or perennial, i.e., it can happen at any time of the year. In allergic rhinitis, an allergen is usually responsible for causing allergies when exposed to the human body. This allergen can be any substance like pollen (mostly in case of seasonal allergies) and is harmless. Or indoor allergens like dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva, or mold (responsible for perennial allergic rhinitis), or it can be due to irritants like cigarette smoke, perfumes as well. When your body comes in contact with allergens, it releases histamine taking it as an infectious foreign body and defend from it releasing chemicals from mast cells. The continuous release of histamine causes a wide range of symptoms resulting in allergic rhinitis.
Now when it comes to its treatment, there is a wide range of medication and home remedies available, while for its management, one must be aware of its symptoms and should follow them throughout the course. Allergic rhinitis is a chronic respiratory illness that affects the quality of life and needs therapy. It comes with many symptoms including cough, runny nose, stiff nose, itchiness, sore throat, watery eyes, sometimes eczema, and fatigue as well. Though cold have similar symptoms like hay fever, there is no fever due to allergic rhinitis, but it can cause sinus pain and headache, and there will be thin watery discharge due to runny nose. All these symptoms are related to the release of histamine that blocks the nasal passages and causes nasal congestion. Together these symptoms make a person difficult to concentrate and make more irritable.
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People who are sensitive to allergens must follow special considerations during the peak seasons in hay fever or when exposed to substances causing allergy as in perennial rhinitis. During spring or fall, when the pollen count is maximum, people are advised to stay indoors as much as possible. Wear a mask to protect your nose and mouth and sunglasses to avoid pollen getting into the eyes. Also, avoid hanging any clothes or towels outside and then rubbing your face or nose with it, it may worsen the symptoms.
In the case of indoor allergens, use dehumidifiers to keep humidity low. To avoid pollutants at workplaces, HEPA filters should be used that controls particulate entrance indoor that cause allergies. Otherwise, your symptoms can be intolerable in high humid areas. Use mite-proof pillow covers and bedsheets. Limit your exposure from pet furs and replace and carpets or mats with hardwood or tiles. People must be well aware of their type of allergy to manage it.
Next, allergic rhinitis can be managed by using intranasal corticosteroids as the first line of therapy. In severe cases, antihistamines, decongestants, or leukotriene antagonists are used to control allergic symptoms. Some people also take allergy shots to make allergies go away completely. It is immunotherapy. It should be considered when other ways don’t work because it is quite complicated.
Other ways to manage allergic rhinitis include home remedies like nasal irrigation, steam, or gargling may help with the symptoms. The use of honey and showering from lukewarm water may also help. However, avoiding your exposure to the allergen should be the priority for everyone who suffers from allergic rhinitis.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!