Allergic rhinitis is like asthma in many ways, except in one aspect. While asthma, due to airborne substances, leads to an allergic or hypersensitivity reactions in the lungs and chest cavity, the reaction with allergic rhinitis occurs in the eyes, nose and throat. Exposing to allergen causes the release of histamine (a chemical substance in the body), and it creates inflammation and fluid in the cells of sensitive mucous membranes in the nose cavity and behind him, in the eyelids and surface layer of the eye (conjunctivitis).
No one knows why some people are hypersensitive to otherwise harmless grains of pollen or other airborne particles. The reaction depends on the function of the system the body’s natural immunity. Since allergic diseases, e.g., asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema, are often hereditary, the cause is probably partly genetic.
If you have allergic rhinitis, you will react to specific allergens (although perhaps not know that). For example, if you suffer from hay fever, the well-known variants of this disease, you will probably be sensitive to grass pollen, which is most abundant in early summer, or particularly sensitive to pollen trees that prevails in the spring or in the fall in Otava. Almost every airgel material from living organisms can cause allergic rhinitis, such as hair, skin or pet’s feather. You can be allergic to house dust – or rather, the mites polluting dust. You can even respond to some odors (airborne molecules of a substance that creates them).
Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal (e.g. hay fever that lasts only a few weeks when there is a highest density of pollen) or permanent (fever that lasts the whole year, caused by exposure to aerogenic allergens which are, more or less, always present).
Symptoms are frequent sneezing, stuffy nose, red, itchy and watery eyes. Rubbing eyes makes it worse. Itchy skin, sore throat and wheezing can also occur. If you have hay fever, symptoms will be most difficult when the air has the highest pollen. Symptoms are usually especially hard for 15-30 minutes – during the so-called “attack” of allergic rhinitis – after that, it will settle down for a while.
Since airborne allergens are usually too small for a man’s eye, it is difficult to predict when the attack will occur. If you are, for example, allergic to cats, you’ll start sneezing when you walk into an empty room in which often resides cat because a tiny, invisible pieces of cat skin are still hovering in the room.
Allergic rhinitis is very common. In the UK, about every 90th person suffers from it to such an extent that he or she needs medical attention (in most cases it’s a hay fever), while considerably more have milder forms of the disease. It is generally believed that about 15% of people in a certain period of life has clear, and about 25% has latent signs of seasonal or persistent fever. Although the common belief is that young people get rid of allergic rhinitis in late puberty or after the age of 20, it is not always so. Anyone can get sick of it or recover in any age. However, it will be particularly sensitive if you are less than 40 years old and suffering from other allergic diseases, for example, asthma or eczema, or if the disease state exists in your family. Many people suffer from multiple forms of seasonal and persistent allergic rhinitis.
Although these problems can be life-long, allergic rhinitis usually does not threaten the general health of patients.
What to do?
If you find that allergic rhinitis interferes with your daily work, consult a doctor. The doctor will, based on questions asked, define the problem and, depending on your answers, might advise you not to opt for professional treatment, simply because certain possible side effects and inconvenience of some forms of treatment can only worsen your condition. If you do not know the cause of rhinitis, your doctor may refer you to a skin test that will detect allergens, so you can try and avoid them. This test consists of dripping liquids (each drop contains common allergen) on the forearm and light bites into the skin under each drop. If the skin under the drop is red and itchy, then you are allergic to that substance. The treatment will be more successful if you are allergic to one or two substances.
Self-help: if you regularly get hay fever, stay as long as possible in the house during the hay fever season. When you go out you can tale sunglasses, but try to avoid contact lenses that can irritate the eyes and resist to any temptation to rub them. Follow the information on the content of pollen in the air, as reported by television, radio and many newspapers. If your hay fever is not seasonal but permanent, try to discover what you are allergic to and take measures against exposing yourself to these allergens or reduce that exposure to a minimum. Self-help, which is recommended for asthmatics, applies to those suffering from permanent allergic rhinitis.
Regardless of whether your allergies are seasonal or permanent, there are many preparations to relieve the symptoms that you can buy without a prescription. The most commonly applied antihistamine tablets are generally effective for preventing and stopping seizure. To be fully effective, antihistamines must be taken regularly every 4 to 6 hours, often for several days, and the side effects (drowsiness and dryness of mucous membranes of the nose and throat) can be more galling than the rhinitis. In any case, such a pill should not be taken if you plan to drive a car in the next few hours or if you work on the machine, because it will cause sleepiness.
For relief of the situation in case of a blockage or runny nose may help stroke a decongestant nose or nasal spray that works for a few minutes. Do not use these medicines often not regularly, as they may make it difficult to exactly those symptoms that you wanted to mitigate.
Professional help: there is a whole range of products for the treatment of symptoms which are obtainable only on medical prescription. If you can’t alleviate the symptoms by any method recommended in Self-help paragraph, the doctor will write you a prescription for an antihistamine that is superior to anything you’ve previously tested. There are various types of assets, corticosteroids for example, which will not stop the attack because the symptoms have already appeared. If you take them several times a day, they will act as a preventive if you are threatened with inevitable exposure to a known allergen. Corticosteroids are usually given as a nasal spray, because if applied only at the point of irritation (nasal mucosa), they do not cause unpleasant side effects often associated with the use of corticosteroid tablets that work on the entire body.
Drug therapy only soothes the symptoms, but does not change the basic allergic reactions. The only possible cure for allergic rhinitis are injections of “desensitization”. If the skin test found one or more allergens, the doctor will give you a series of injections of concentrated allergens trying to force your body to stop responding to these allergens. The procedure is not always successful.