Allergic rhinitis is commonly known as hay fever. It is often confused as fever caused by hay. Allergic rhinitis is not a fever but an allergy that a lot of people develop. This allergy is caused by a variety of things, the most common of them is dust, pollen, and animal dander.
People often wonder why is it that allergic rhinitis only develops in certain people and not others. The human body is peculiar; what is one person’s meat is another person’s poison. While allergens are generally harmless substances, allergic rhinitis is mostly only caused by specific allergens.
Triggers of Allergic Rhinitis
The allergens responsible for causing allergic rhinitis in people can be categorized into outdoor allergens, indoor allergens and irritants. Outdoor allergens are more plant based. The pollen from trees, grass and weed contributes towards outdoor allergens. Pollen from flowers, however, is distributed via insects and is not responsible for hay fever. Indoor allergens include pet hair, animal dander or old skin, dust mites and mould. Irritants can consist of cigarette smoke, perfumes, deodorants and diesel exhaust, to name a few. The weather and environmental conditions may trigger this kind of allergy as well.
Allergic rhinitis can be of two types. It can be a seasonal allergic rhinitis or perennial. Seasonal rhinitis is mostly experienced during spring and summer months. Whereas the symptoms of perennial rhinitis are present all year long and bouts can strike at any time.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
There are various symptoms of allergic rhinitis. A lot of sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, allergic cough, darkened under-eye circles, itchiness and hives, amongst other things should be experienced by people who are suffering from hay fever.
Detection of hay fever generally takes place by a medical practitioner asking the victim to enlist the symptoms and then conduct a skin test. Questions such as do the symptoms differ according to the time of the day, or are they affected by the season, or even some questions about your lifestyle including your pet may be asked. The skin allergy test determines whether the condition is allergic rhinitis and its severity. If the case is advanced, in some cases certain blood tests are advised by doctors as well.
Available Treatments for Allergic Rhinitis
The prognosis of allergic rhinitis is similar for most of its victims depending upon the main allergen causing it. Though there is permanent treatment, a mix of ways are advised to prevent further attacks. The treatment can be divided into home remedies, lifestyle changes, over the counter drugs and immunotherapy. Let us look at some of the treatments that are commonly advised by all medical practitioners for people who suffer from hay fever.
Since allergens such as dust mites, mould, pet fur and skin are known to aggravate allergic rhinitis and allergic cough, most doctors recommend many home remedies. Patients are advised time and again to avoid rubbing their eyes and nose. Blowing and douching your nose regularly proves to be helpful. But ensure that you do not use to much force when blowing your nose.
The key to managing allergic rhinitis is reducing exposure to allergens which necessitates key lifestyle changes. For this usage of clean sheets and mite proof sheets are stressed upon. Keeping windows closed and using air conditioners in the house is advised. Low humidity should be maintained. Wet mopping instead of dry dusting should be done to keep the house clean. All of this not only is a part of the treatment as it makes the person suffering feel better, but these are also practices that prevent further allergy attacks.
Furthermore if you have allergic rhinitis try and stay indoors as much as possible. When stepping out try and wear a mask that blocks out contact with pollens and other irritants, and put on sunglasses. Take a shower as soon as you come home from the outdoors. If you have a pet, ensure that your pet is clean is healthy and wash your hands rigorously after touching your pet. Dry your laundry indoors as much as possible as pollen and dust clings onto towels and garments.
Over the Counter Drugs
Allergic cough and allergic rhinitis is commonly treated with antihistamines. These largely include nasal drops, eye drops, and oral anti-allergen tablets. Many doctors require you to complete a course of anti-allergen tablets consumed at least twice daily for roughly a week. Nasal drops provide immediate short term relief when used at regular time intervals. These are the most favoured medium of treatment for patients suffering from hay fever. A stuffy nose and relief from sinus pressure for a short period of time can be achieved by the use of a prescribed decongestant.
Alternately your doctor may prescribe intranasal corticosteroids (INCS) in order to mitigate the symptoms, as they are the most effective medications used to treat the underlying inflammation in allergic rhinitis. Sometimes these corticosteroids are also prescribed along with an antihistamine and leukotriene receptor antagonist, known as combination therapy.
People who suffer from severe cases of allergic rhinitis and allergic cough that is not cured by over the counter drugs are advised to try immunotherapy. This kind of treatment is commonly known as allergy shots. Some people cannot control or minimise the pollen exposure, for such people doctors advise injections or even oral medication that contain a strong dosage of anti-allergens. Every dose is stronger than the preceding dose. These shots are given at extended time intervals till the necessary immunity level is achieved. These shots help your body adjust itself to the allergen causing the allergy.
It is important to always follow the advice of your consulting physician before you consume any medications or shots. It is imperative to consult a practicing doctor in case the patient is an elderly or child or a pregnant women. Children are prescribed more or less the same medications as adults, however, the dosage may vary.
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