Allergic rhinitis also referred to as hay fever or allergies, happen when your immune system is allergic to the particles in the air that you are breathing in. The particles that cause the allergies are known as allergens.
Allergic rhinitis is of two types: Perennial, when the symptoms exist all around the year; and seasonal when the symptoms occur only during certain times of the year. Allergic rhinitis affects around 20% of the UK population. Adolescents and school-going children are likely to suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis while adults are more likely to suffer from perennial allergic rhinitis.
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
When the body reacts to an allergen, it produces histamine. This chemical leads to quite a few uncomfortable signs and symptoms that can be irritating and disrupt your everyday activities. Treating it early can help you deal with it better. Some of the common symptoms of Allergic rhinitis are:
• Continuous sneezing, mostly in the morning time • Itchy ears, throat, and nose • Runny nose • Watery eyes
Some of the most common Allergic rhinitis causes include pollen from weeds, grasses, and trees. In some cases mold, dust mites, animal dander is also known to cause allergies. Some people are allergic to workplace allergens such as chemicals, wood dust, and others. The allergens are different for different people. It is important to know your particular trigger before you go for treatment to be able to deal with it better.
Allergic Rhinitis Risk factors:
While anyone can get allergies, it tends to be genetic. If anyone in your family has allergies, your chances of developing it increase. As per some studies, your chances increase if your mother has a history of allergy issues.
Certain substances can worsen the condition such as:
• Cigarettes • Cold temperatures • Hairspray • Chemicals • High humidity levels • Fumes • Air pollution • Wood smoke • Wind
Time to Visit the Doctor:
It is time to visit your doctor if you’re Allergic rhinitis symptoms are making it difficult for you to sleep and is affecting your work/school life. To diagnose, the doctor may do a physical examination. Sometimes the doctor may recommend certain tests to determine the best treatment and preventive methods.
Allergy tests are not usually needed in general hay fever as the trigger can be easily identified by examining the patient. However, in certain cases, allergy and blood tests may be requested by the doctor to confirm the diagnosis.
Most people have mild symptoms that can be easily treated. However, symptoms can be severe in some cases leading to a host of problems. The symptoms improve to an extent over time, but it can take longer, and it is not likely that the issue will ever disappear totally.
Preventing Allergic Rhinitis:
While it is not possible to cure it completely, there are several ways to prevent allergic rhinitis. You can follow the following steps depending on the symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis that you have.
• Stay indoors in seasons when airborne allergens are high • Don’t hang your laundry outside for drying • Shower and change your clothes when you come from outside • Use an air conditioner in your house • Keep your house and bed linen, clean and free of dust • Cover your pillows and mattress with dust mite covers • Keep pets away from your house • Use an air purifier • Wash your bedding at least once a week
Although it may not be possible to stay completely away from potential allergens, you can take some steps to decrease your exposure to your specific trigger.
Allergic Rhinitis Treatment:
Allergic rhinitis cannot be cured. However, you can take several steps to manage the condition better. Millions of people have been able to lead active, healthy lives just by dealing with it carefully. The best way to go is to avoid your triggers. You may need to stay indoors when the pollen count is high or keep your house clean of mold, dust, and dander. It might not be possible to avoid triggers at all times, but take care to stay away as much as is possible for you.
If you have asthma as well, it is good to consult your doctor before you take any medicines. Children, elderly people, pregnant women and lactating mothers must consult the doctor before starting any treatment for Allergic rhinitis.
Conclusion: In some cases, allergic rhinitis can lead to some complications such as Nasal polyps, sinusitis, and middle ear issues. These problems can usually be treated with medication, although surgery may be required in some complicated cases. It is important that you visit a doctor as soon as you observe any of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Starting treatment early on can go a long way to managing the condition better and help you lead an active life.