Allergens are referred to those harmless substance which cause allergic reactions in human. Commonly known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis caused from allergic responses to certain particular allergens. Amongst them pollen is the most typical which resulted in allergic rhinitis.
Interestingly, along with change in seasons the symptoms of this allergic reaction also change. As per AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology), almost 30% of the population suffer from allergic rhinitis.
Allergic Rhinitis symptoms
Some usual Allergic Rhinitis symptoms comprise of the following:
- Excessive fatigue
- Eczema-like symptoms like itchy and dry skin which can weep and blister
- Frequent headaches
- Dark circles around the eye
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Scratchy or sore throat
- Itchy nose
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
Once you are subjected to allergen you will start experiencing single or more of the mentioned symptoms. Only long-term exposure can result in the experience of fatigue and headache. Fever is not actually the hay fever symptom. Sometimes people experience the symptoms very rare. It is generally occurs when you get exposed.
Rare symptoms are experienced by some people whereas some experience the symptoms throughout the year as they get exposed to it in huge amount. Talk to your doctor if the symptoms last for a couple of weeks and don’t get improved.
Allergic Rhinitis causes
Once the body get exposed to allergen it starts releasing histamines, the natural chemical which defends the physique from allergens. That’s why the body suffers from allergic rhinitis and all its potential symptoms along itchy eyes, sneezing and running nose.
Along pollen, some of other typical allergens are;
- Cat saliva
- Pet dander or old skin
- Dust mites
- Grass pollen
Particularly at a fixed time or season, these pollens seem to be quite problematic. In spring, flower and trees pollen are quite common. More pollen is produced by the weeds and grasses mainly during fall and summer.
Allergic Rhinitis and its types
Usually two kinds of Allergic Rhinitis are there- Perennial and Seasonal. While perennial allergies happen throughout the year or anytime in responding to indoor substances like pet dander or dust mites; seasonal allergies happen during fall and spring only.
Triggering factors of Allergic Rhinitis
Anyone can get affected by allergies, but you become more susceptible to allergic rhinitis if your family possesses the history of allergic reactions. Being a patient of atopic eczema or asthma can also heighten the risk of emerging allergic rhinitis.
Certain external attributions which can make the condition much more severe are given as:
- Wood smoke
- Air pollution
- Cold temperatures
- Cigarette smoke
How diagnosis is performed for Allergic Rhinitis
Physical exam is a must for minor allergies. Also, your private general practitioner may perform certain tests for determining the best preventive measures and treatment plan for your allergic reaction. Skin prick test is also important in such condition. In this procedure, numerous allergic substances will be placed over your skin for figuring out the way in which the skin reacts to each of them.
If small reddish bumps can be seen to be emerging this clearly denotes that you are allergic to that particular substance. Sometimes RAST (radioallergosorbent test) or blood test can be also performed for measuring the immunoglobulin E antibodies level for specific allergens present in the bloodstream.
Allergic Rhinitis treatments
Allregic Rhinitis can be treated in a number of ways including alternative medications and home remedies. You are recommended to talk to your private GP prior to adapt any new way to deal with this allergic condition.
A myriad of allergies can be greatly dealt by taking antihistamines. This resists the production of histamines in the body.
A few of the famous OTC (over-the-counter) antihistamines are mentioned below for your reference:
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- levocetirizine (Xyzal)
- loratadine (Claritin)
- desloratadine (Clarinex)
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- fexofenadine (Allegra)
Before taking any new medication, consult with your doctor once to get ensured that the medication will not interfere with respect to any other medication you are taking at present for certain physical complexities.
Decongestants can be used for a certain period but not over 3 days to obtain relief from sinus pressure and stuffy nose. Rebound effect can be there in case it is used for a long period of time making the symptoms actually worse than ever. Some famous OTC decongestants are:
- cetirizine with pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D)
- phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)
- pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
- oxymetazoline (Afrin nasal spray)
For certain issues like bladder problem, high blood pressure, sleeping disorder, anxiety, stroke history, heart disease and irregular heart rate doctor consultation is needed prior to use the decongestant.
Nasal sprays and eye drops
Nasal sprays and eye drops provide the relief from numerous allergy-associated symptoms along itchiness. But definitely, long-term usage should be avoided on the basis of the product you are going to use. Otherwise, you may suffer from rebound effect. Immune responses and inflammation can be remarkably dealt with corticosteroids.
Allergy symptoms can be easily managed by steroid nasal spray and thereby can be used as long-term with no probability of rebounding effect. Discuss with the doctor prior to commence following any allergy treatment regime irrespective of the time period of its use. Accordingly, you can avail with both prescription and OTC medication.
Allergy shots or immunotherapy may be recommended for severe allergies. This treatment plan will be combined with other medications to lessen the impact of allergy. By this way the immune response for particular allergen will get decreased. However a long time commitment is required for such cases. The shot will be given in two phases.
Firstly, for the build up phase 3 times shot can be taken for 3-6 months and for maintenance phase, each shot will be taken for 2-4 week in the time period of 3-5 years. Sometimes you can get allergy after taking the shots which is why allergists will request the patients to stay for about 45 minutes for ensuring there is no life-threatening or intense response to it.
SLIT (Sublingual immunotherapy)
This process involves placement of the tablet rich in the mixture numerous allergens. It acts in much identical way to that of the allergy shots without giving the injection. For other allergies, initial GP consultation is required. SLIT shots will be taken as per instruction of the doctor.
Allergic Rhinitis complications
Allergic rhinitis is impossible to prevent. Only proper management and treatment is the key for obtaining a better life quality. Yet a few complications can emerge including:
- Frequent headaches
- Frequent sinus infections or sinusitis
- Frequent ear infections
- Severe asthma
- Difficulty sleeping
The side effects of antihistamines can also be the main culprit of complications. It includes insomnia, anxiety, headache and drowsiness. Sometimes antihistamines can also result in circulatory, urinary and gastrointestinal effects.
Allergic Rhinitis in kids
Kids can get allergic rhinitis also and it will appear before 10 years of age. Usually, in this condition they will experience cold-like symptom with bloodshot and watery eyes commonly known as allergic conjunctivitis. Asthma and breathing shortness can be also experienced at the same time.
At that time, it becomes important to get them checked by the doctor for right assessment and treatment. In case your kid is highly prone to seasonal allergies then you must take preventive measures to limit their exposure.
Tips for preventing allergies
- During high pollen counts try to stay at home
- Avoid outdoor exercising in the early morning
- After coming from outdoors take an immediate shower
- During allergy season, keep the doors and windows shut
- Cover your nose and mouth while working in yard or lawn
- Avoid mowing or raking the lawn or rakes
- Bathe the pets twice in a week for minimizing the dander and pet hair
- If concerned regarding dust mites remove the carpet from the bedroom
Generally, the treatment result is completely depended on the severity of the condition. Although it is not too severe yet it can be managed easily with the help of using medication. But it is true that long-term treatment needs for treating high severity of the condition.