By Dr Saima Mushtaq
Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction caused by tiny particles in the air called allergens.
There are two types of allergic reactions:
- Seasonal allergic rhinitis- It occurs during the spring and monsoon season and develop in response to allergens like pollen
- Perennial allergic rhinitis- It can occur year-round or at any time during the year in response to indoor substances like dust
Side note- When we come in contact with an allergen (foreign substance), our immune system knows about it and releases a chemical mediator called. “histamine”
Histamine starts the process to throw allergens out of our body which can make us sneeze or cause itch
How to know if you are suffering from allergic rhinitis
Some Signs and symptoms include – Runny nose and nasal congestion, sneezing, watery, itchy eyes, cough, ear pressure, and fatigue
What triggers allergic rhinitis:
- Cigarette smoke
- Having a family history of asthma or allergies
- Having a family history of atopic dermatitis
- Wood smoke
- Air pollution
- Hair spray
How doe allergic rhinitis affects the quality of life?
- It is observed that the symptoms of allergic rhinitis mostly happen in the morning which then persist throughout the day
- Allergic rhinitis can keep you awake and make it difficult to fall asleep
- It can interfere with daytime activities and can lead to fatigue and the feeling of being unwell.
- The symptoms of allergic rhinitis lead to absence from work
- People with allergic rhinitis report problems with social activities and difficulties in daily activities
- Children with Allergic rhinitis resulted in missed school days
Do’s and Don’ts
- Keep home windows closed to prevent pollens’
- Close the car windows while traveling
- Take a shower/bath to prevent allergens
- Wash bed linens in hot water
- Avoid dusty and polluted areas
- Avoid smoking Avoid stress
- Avoid shampoos and soaps which trigger allergic reactions
- A diet plan to manage Allergic Rhinitis-
Diet plan to manage symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
- Tea contains antihistamines and is a great addition to the diet to reduce the symptoms of allergy
- Do not eat raw foods.
- Stick to cooked foods
- Cooking foods lessens your risk of developing allergy symptoms
- Eating probiotic foods such as yogurt, milk, and dairy supplements can regulate the immune system so that there are fewer chances of developing allergic symptoms.
- Eating foods that are rich in fiber helps to reduce inflammation examples are fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, etc
What are the common myths and facts about Allergic Rhinitis?
|Smoking does not trigger Allergic Rhinitis||Smoking triggers allergic rhinitis because it contains many toxic substances which can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, watery eyes, sneezing, itching, runny nose,|
|Allergies can be cured||There are currently no cures for allergies, but effective treatments are available that control the symptoms of allergy|
|Allergies are harmless||Allergic rhinitis can result in poor sleep quality, fatigue, and daytime sleepiness, and affects your mind and bodily functions|
|You Will Outgrow Your Seasonal Allergies||Most kids won’t, especially if they have hay fever (allergic rhinitis)|
Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis
- The most important and effective treatment is the avoidance of allergens
- Intranasal corticosteroid. (spray)
How to use nasal sprays
- Shake the bottle before spraying or as suggested by the doctor.
- Blow and wipe your nose to clear it out of mucus before spraying the medicine
- Tilt your head slightly forward, about 45 degrees
- Gently put the spray nozzle into one nostril using your hand
- Tilt the nozzle towards the nasal cavity or slightly outward (e.g., aim the spray away from the nasal septum
- Breathe in gently and press to spray at the same time.
- Avoid sniffing hard during or after spraying. Sniffing could force the spray into the back of the throat instead of inside the nose where it needs to work.
- repeat for the other nostril.
- Wipe the tip of the spray nozzle with a dry handkerchief or tissue and put the cap back on.
With the COVID-19 pandemic coinciding with the spring allergy season, there is growing concern about using intranasal corticosteroids for nasal allergies. There is no data available which says that allergy medications increase the risk of COVID-19 infection or lead to a worse outcome if you get the infection. During this time, it is better to control the allergy symptoms to avoid misdiagnosis of Covid-19 because there may be overlap of symptoms.