Treatment for allergic rhinitis depends on how severe your symptoms are and how much they're affecting your everyday activities.
In most cases treatment aims to relieve symptoms such as sneezing and a blocked or runny nose.
If you have mild allergic rhinitis, you can often treat the symptoms yourself.
You should visit your GP if your symptoms are more severe and affecting your quality of life,or if self-help measures haven't been effective.
It's possible to treat the symptoms of mild allergic rhinitis with over-the-counter medications, such as long-acting, non-sedating Antihistamines .
If possible, try to reduce exposure to the allergen that triggers the condition. See preventing allergic rhinitis for more information and advice about this.
Regularly cleaning your nasal passages with a salt water solution known as nasal douching or irrigation can also help by keeping your nose free of irritants.
You can do this either by using a homemade solution or a solution made with sachets of ingredients bought from a pharmacy.
Small syringes or pots that often look like small horns or teapots are also available to help flush the solution around the inside of your nose.
To make the solution at home, mix half a teaspoon of salt andhalf a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking powder) into a pint (568ml) of boiled water that's been left to cool to around body temperaturedo not attempt to rinse your nose while the water is still hot.
To rinse your nose:
While you do this, some solution may pass into your throat through the back of your nose. The solution is harmless if swallowed, but try to spit out as much of it as possible.
Nasal irrigation can be carried out as often as necessary, but a fresh solution should be made each time.
Medication won't cure your allergy, but it can be used to treat the common symptoms.
If your symptoms are caused by seasonal allergens, such as pollen, you should be able to stop taking your medication after the risk of exposure has passed.
Visityour GP if your symptoms don't respond to medication after two weeks.
Antihistamines relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis by blocking the action of a chemical called histamine, which the body releases when it thinks it's under attack from an allergen.
You can buy antihistamine tablets over the counter from your pharmacist without a prescription, but antihistamine nasal sprays are only available with a prescription.
Antihistamines can sometimescause drowsiness. If you're taking them for the first time, see how you react to them before driving or operating heavy machinery. In particular, antihistamines can cause drowsiness if you drink alcohol while taking them.
If you have frequent or persistentsymptoms and you have a nasal blockage or nasal polyps , your GP may recommend a nasal spray or drops containing corticosteroids .
Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation and swelling. They take longer to work than antihistamines, but their effects last longer. Side effects from inhaled corticosteroids are rare, but can include nasal dryness, irritation and nosebleeds .
If youhave a particularly severe bout of symptoms and need rapid relief, your GPmay prescribe a short course of corticosteroid tablets lasting5 to 10 days.
If allergic rhinitis doesn't respond to treatment,your GPmay choose toadd to your original treatment.
If you don't respond to the add-on treatments, you may be referred to a specialist for further assessment and treatment.
Immunotherapy, also known as hyposensitisation or desensitisation,is another typeof treatment used for some allergies.
It's only suitable for people with certain types of allergies, such as hay fever , andisusually only considered if your symptomsare severe.
Immunotherapy involvesgradually introducing more and more of the allergen into your body to makeyour immune systemless sensitive to it.
The allergen isoften injected under the skin of your upper arm. Injections are given at weekly intervals, with a slightly increased dose each time.
Immunotherapy can also be carried outusing tablets that containan allergen, such as grass pollen, whichareplaced under your tongue.
When a dose is reached that's effectivein reducing your allergic reaction (the maintenance dose), you'll need to continue with the injections or tablets for up to threeyears.
Immunotherapy should only be carried out under the close supervision of a specially trained doctor as there's a risk it may cause a serious allergic reaction.
<p><strong>Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the inner nose which is caused by allergens, such as flower pollen, dust or animal hairs. </strong></p><p><strong>Many individuals suffer from this condition, hence it is very common. Allergic rhinitis is associated with similar symptoms to the common cold, such as sneezing, a congested, dry nose, itching etc. In some individuals these symptoms are mild, and in others they are more severe and present at all times. In some patients, symptoms are present all year round, whereas for others, they only appear seasonally. </strong></p><p> </p>
<p><strong>Allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergic reaction which occurs in the human body when it falls in contact with an allergen, which may be dust, flower pollen, animal hair etc. The allergens trigger the onset of several symptoms. Our natural immune systems interpret the presence of allergens as they would the presence of an infectious agent, and hence the immune response to allergens is the same response that your body would organize against a bacterium or virus. People who are highly sensitive to allergens produce antibodies against them. Several common allergens include:</strong></p><p><strong>1. Common house dust (in linens, carpets and other household items)</strong></p><p><strong>2. Flower pollen (usually in spring and autumn)</strong></p><p><strong>3. Remnants from domestic animals (dogs, cats, horses, rabbits), which include hair, urine, spit etc. </strong></p><p><strong>People with a family history for allergies are more likely to develop allergic rhinitis. </strong></p><p> </p><p> </p>
<p><strong>After inquiring for a thorough family history of the patient, the doctor may order the following tests:</strong></p><p><strong>1. Scratch test (the arm is scratched with a needle containing an allergen, and the skin is observed for any subsequent development of a rash).</strong></p><p><strong>2. A blood test to measure for the levels of IGE immunoglobulins, which are elevated in case of an allergic reaction. Another indicator is the elevated level of eusinophiles. </strong></p><p><strong>3. In cases when the condition concurrs with another condition, (like for example nasal polyps or sinusitis), other examinations are required, such as : nasal endoscopy, or a nose scanner. </strong></p><p> </p>
<p><strong>Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms of rhinitis. Medication usually involves interfering in order to relieve congestion in the nose. An allergic patient should know that the best means of treatment is avoiding or eliminating exposure to the allergen. Other types of medication used do not cure the allergy, they just treat the symptoms. Types of treatment used include:</strong></p><p><strong>1. Salt solutions used to rinse out the nose, they may be applied up to several times a day.</strong></p><p><strong>2. Taking anti-histamines, which lower the levels of histamines in the bloodstream. Histamines are the compounds which trigger an allergic reaction. </strong></p><p><strong>3. Cortisones are a type of medication which helps in lowering inflammation and secretion. They can be taken in the form of a nasal spray or a tablet. </strong></p><p><strong>4. Leukotriene antagonists: leukotrienes serve as one of the mediators of inflammation, and antagonists of such compounds serve as decongestants. </strong></p><p><strong>If all of the above yields no satisfactory results, then immunotherapy is employed, as well as the usage of vaccines with allergen content, in order to lower the patient's sensitivity to the allergen.</strong></p><p> </p><p> </p>
<p><strong>Continous suffering from the symptoms of allergic rhinitis may be cause for other health complications which include:</strong></p><p><strong>1. The development of nasal polyps (small tissue masses similar to a teardrop, which are caused by constant inflammation).</strong></p><p><strong>2. Large polyps may cause breating difficulties, especially while asleep, a reduced sense of smell, a blockage of the sinuses, and at times resulting in chronic sinusitis. </strong></p><p><strong>3. Middle ear infections, an infection of the eustachian tube may spread to the middle ear. Symptoms associated with this is ear pain, high fever, reduced hearing capability. </strong></p><p><strong>4. A case of allergic rhinitis which has been medicated poorly or has gone unmedicated, may lead to the development of a bronchial asthma or in cases of preexisting asthma, a worsening of the asthma symptoms. </strong></p><p> </p>
<p><strong>Preventing the condition is the best medication available for allergic rhinitis, meaning either avoiding or eliminating exposure to the allergen. This is not an easy feat to perform, and not always possible. </strong></p><p><strong>1. To prevent the formation of house dust the patient is advised to use: antiallergenic mattresses, linens and other types of covers. The house should always be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.</strong></p><p><strong>2. When the allergy is caused by domestic animals: if you cannot remove the animal from the house, then you must make sure they do not enter your bedroom, and the house must be cleaned often. Do not allow the animals to tread upon carpets. </strong></p><p><strong>3. When the allergy is caused by pollens: avoid pollination season (usually spring/autumn), use sunglasses, and ventilate the house frequently, avoid grassy areas and parks.</strong></p><p><strong>4. When the allergy is caused by spores, maintain a dry and well-ventilated household. </strong></p><p> </p><p> </p>