Allergic rhinitis is inflammation of the inside of thenose caused by an allergen, such as pollen, dust,mould,or flakes of skin from certain animals .
It's a very common condition, estimated to affect around one in every five people in the UK.
Allergic rhinitistypicallycauses cold-like symptoms , such as sneezing, itchiness and a blocked or runny nose. These symptoms usuallystart soon after beingexposed to an allergen.
Some people onlyget allergic rhinitisfor a few months at a time because they're sensitive to seasonal allergens, such astree or grass pollen. Other people get allergic rhinitis all year round.
Most people with allergic rhinitis have mild symptoms that can be easily and effectively treated. But for some symptoms can be severe and persistent, causing sleep problems and interfering with everyday life.
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis occasionally improve with time, but this can take many years andit's unlikely that the condition will disappear completely.
Visit your GP if the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are disrupting your sleep, preventing you carrying out everyday activities, or adversely affecting your performance at work or school.
A diagnosis of allergic rhinitis will usually be based on your symptoms and any possible triggers you may have noticed. If the cause of your condition is uncertain, you may be referred for allergy testing .
This will help improve your symptoms.
Ifyour condition is mild, you can also help reduce the symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications, such as non-sedating Antihistamines , and by regularly rinsing your nasal passages with a salt water solution to keep your nose free of irritants.
See your GP for advice if you've tried takingthese steps and they haven't helped. They may prescribe a stronger medication, such as a nasal spray containing corticosteroids .
These problems can often be treated with medication, although surgery is sometimes needed in severe or long-term cases.
<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>