Patients Care

ALLERGIC RHINITIS

An Allergy is a disorder of the immune system . Allergic reactions occur due to normally harmless environmental substances known as allergens; these reactions are acquired, predictable and rapid. Allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity.

Mild allergies like allergic rhinitis are highly prevalent in the human population and cause, allergic conjunctivitis, itchiness and runny nose. Allergies can play a major role in conditions such as asthma.
Seasonal allergies are common and impact people during the spring, summer and fall. As we enter spring, the culprits causing symptoms in most people will be trees (like oak and elm), grasses and weeds and will vary from region to region.

Causes

  • Risk factors for allergy can be placed in two general categories. Namely host and environmental factors.
  • Host factors include heredity, sex, race and age, with heredity being by far the most significant.
  • However, there have been recent increases in the incidence of allergic disorders that cannot be explained by genetic factors alone.
  • Four major environmental candidates are alterations in exposure to infectious diseases during early childhood, environmental pollution, allergen levels and dietary changes.
  • An allergen is something that triggers an allergy. When a person with allergic rhinitis breathes in an allergen such as pollen or dust, the body releases chemicals, including histamine. This causes allergy symptoms such as itching, swelling etc.
  • Allergic rhinitis is a type of immune reaction. Normally, the immune system responds to foreign microorganisms, or particles like pollen or dust, by producing specific proteins, called antibodies.

Sign and Symptoms

  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Watering Eyes
  • Irritation of Nose
  • Decreased Sense of Smell
  • Itching of Eye
  • Sinusitis
  • Headache
  • Wheezing
  • Sore Throat
  • Postnasal Drip
  • Nosebleed
  • Eye Swelling
  • Abnormal Sense of Taste
  • High-Pitched Breath Sounds

Management

  • Traditionally treatment and management of allergies involved simply avoiding the allergen in question or otherwise reducing exposure. For instance, people with cat allergies were encouraged to avoid them. While avoidance may help to reduce symptoms and avoid life-threatening anaphylaxis, it is difficult to achieve for those with pollen or similar air-borne allergies.
  • Strict avoidance still has a role in management though and is often used in managing food allergies.
  • Several antagonistic drugs are used to block the action of allergic mediators, or to prevent activation of cells.