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What is Allergic rhinitis? Know causes, symptoms and treatment and more about this allergic reaction

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is an allergic reaction causing symptoms like sneezing, itching, and nasal congestion. Learn about its triggers, symptoms, treatments, and management options here.

Written By: Muskan Gupta @guptamuskan_ New Delhi Published on: June 24, 2024 10:36 IST
Allergic rhinitis
Image Source : SOCIAL What is Allergic rhinitis? Know causes and symptoms

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is an allergic reaction that affects the nasal passages. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mould spores. This condition is widespread, affecting millions worldwide, and can significantly impact daily life if left untreated. Here's all you need to know about this allergic reaction:

Causes of Allergic Rhinitis

The primary cause of allergic rhinitis is exposure to allergens. When a person with a predisposition to allergies inhales these allergens, their immune system identifies them as harmful and releases chemicals like histamine to combat them. This immune response leads to inflammation of the nasal passages, causing symptoms characteristic of allergic rhinitis.

Common allergens include:

  • Pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds.
  • Dust mites are found in bedding, carpets, and upholstery.
  • Pet dander (skin flakes), saliva, or urine.
  • Mould spores from indoor and outdoor environments.

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

Symptoms typically occur soon after exposure to allergens and can persist as long as the allergen is present. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis can vary in severity and may include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy throat, ears, or roof of mouth
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue

Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis

If you suspect you have allergic rhinitis, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management. The doctor may perform a physical exam, review your medical history, and conduct allergy tests (skin prick tests or blood tests) to identify specific allergens triggering your symptoms.

Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis

Minimising exposure to allergens by keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons, using air purifiers, and regularly cleaning bedding and carpets.

Medications:

  1. Antihistamines: Block histamine release and alleviate symptoms like sneezing and itching.
  2. Decongestants: Reduce nasal congestion by shrinking swollen blood vessels in the nasal passages.
  3. Nasal corticosteroids: Reduce inflammation and relieve nasal congestion and sneezing.
  4. Allergy shots (Immunotherapy): In cases of severe allergies, allergen-specific immunotherapy may be recommended to desensitise the immune system over time.
  5. Home Remedies: Saline nasal rinses or sprays can help flush out allergens and thin mucus. Steam inhalation and warm compresses may also provide temporary relief from congestion.
  6. Lifestyle Adjustments: Avoiding tobacco smoke, managing stress, and staying hydrated can help reduce symptoms.

Allergic rhinitis is a common allergic reaction that affects the nasal passages due to exposure to allergens like pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. While it can be bothersome, especially during peak allergy seasons, effective management strategies such as allergen avoidance, medications, and sometimes immunotherapy can help control symptoms and improve quality of life. If you suspect you have allergic rhinitis, seek guidance from a healthcare provider for personalised treatment options tailored to your specific allergies and symptoms.

ALSO READ: Ultra-processed food, sedentary lifestyle risk cancers in Indians under 40, reveal doctors

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