“Allergic Rhinitis: Symptoms, Treatment, and Management Tips”

Introduction

An allergy is an overreaction of your body’s immune system to foreign protein in the environment that are usually harmless to most people. These foreignprotein that cause such reactions are known as allergens.

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory condition of the nasal passages that occurs as a response to outdoor or indoor allergens in the air.

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are similar to cold and include:

  • Bouts of sneezing
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • itchy, red and watery eyes
  • Cough
  • Itching in the throat

Causes of allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergic reaction to allergens that are present both outdoor and indoor.

Some of the common indoor allergens are dust mites, pet dander, paint, or molds, cockroach etc. Exposure to these can trigger an allergic reaction, which can be called an indoor allergy.

The most common outdoor allergens are pollen,air pollution and molds. The slightest exposure to any of these allergens by a person suffering from outdoor allergy can easily trigger an allergic reaction.

HOW TO DIAGNOSE ALLERGY?

Your doctor will take a detailed history which would include your symptoms, triggering factors, frequency of symptoms and its severity.Physical examination which will include a thorough ENT examination will be done by the specialist to rule out other causes for the symptoms.

Basic blood tests and allergen specific blood test wll be advised .

IN PATIENTS WITH PERSISTENT OR REFRACTORY ALLERGY, A SKIN PRICK TEST
WOULD BE RECOMMENDED TO DETECT THE CAUSE FOR ALLERGY.

If any other complications of severe allergy like a sinusitis or nasal polyp is suspected, a CTscan of the
sinuses will be ordered.

Treatments for allergic rhinitis

With proper care and precaution, one can control the allergy symptoms and lead a normal and healthy life.

The best way to manage an allergic rhinitis is to avoid the allergen. But this is not always possible. In such cases, medical treatment can be taken. Some of the options include Antihistamines, Decongestants , Corticosteroids, and Leukotriene receptor
antagonists (antileukotrienes)

Based on the severity of symptoms, doctor will recommend a nasal spray with or without oral tablets

Immunotherapy can also help a person develop long-term tolerance to some allergens.

Preventing allergic rhinitis

If you have allergic rhinitis, it's not always possible to avoid the things you're allergic
to. But there are steps you can take to try to help reduce your symptoms.

Do’s

  •  wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen
  • use hypoallergenic bedding and covers, and wash bedding regularly at 60C and
    above
  • dust with a damp cloth and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
  • Change the bedsheets, bedspread, curtain every week.
  • Physical exercise has been found to be beneficial in overcoming allergy .So regular outdoor exercises in sunlight and breathing exercise is advised.
  • Avoidance of smoking
  • Wear a mask while going in a polluted environment.
  • keep your home dry and well-ventilated, and deal with any damp and
    condensation
  • Soft furnishings and carpet has to be regularly vacuum cleaned.
  • Maintain a food diary and observe your symptoms if any food allergy is
    suspected.

Dont’s

  • do not allow pets in bedrooms
  • do not go outside when the pollen count is high, if possible

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