Allergic Rhinitis- Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention
Allergic rhinitis also called Hay Fever is due to an allergic response to some allergens like pollens and dust. In addition to tree pollen, grass pollen, dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva, and mould also cause allergic rhinitis. Since many of these allergens such as pollen are seasonal, incidence of allergic rhinitis is high in some seasons.
A patient with allergic rhinitis normally presents with a running or stuffy nose, itching in the nose, cough, sore throat, watering and irritation of the eyes and headaches. Sometimes the nasal symptoms may be associated with skin rashes and hives. These symptoms come usually as soon as one is exposed to the allergen and are not usually associated with fever. Depending on when the symptoms of rhinitis appear, the rhinitis may be seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergies occur in spring and fall season and are a response to outdoor allergens like pollen. Perennial allergies usually occur throughout the year and are a response to indoor substances, like dust mites and pet dander.
Allergies usually run in the families and usually other members of the family may suffer from similar symptoms or may be having other allergic diseases such as asthma or eczema. Cigarette smoking, cold temperature, humidity, and air pollution are some of the external conditions that can cause triggering of the symptoms
Diagnosis of allergic rhinitis can be done by doing simple tests in the laboratory and there include
Complete Blood Count – The Total Blood Count may be increased and may show the increase in the Eosinophil count
Absolute Eosinophil Count (AEC) – The absolute eosinophil number is normally increased in the blood of patients suffering from allergic rhinitis IgE levels – these levels are increased in the case of allergic rhinitis
Comprehensive allergic testing – Comprehensive allergic testing may help in diagnosing the causative allergen or allergens. One may be allergic to more than one allergens.
Allergic rhinitis can be treated in many ways and these may include medicines and home remedies
The medicines include antihistamines, Decongestants, Eye drops, and nasal sprays. Sometimes doctors may recommend Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is when allergen shots are given so as to desensitize the person to a particular allergen. Sometimes a person is advised Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) where the allergen is given sublingually One can also take some precautions at home and try to prevent these diseases. Such remedies include using a dehumidifier or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. These can help control the level of allergens in the air
To prevent allergies there are some common tips
Some of these include
1. It is advised to stay indoors during spring when the pollen counts are high.
2. Exercising outside and morning walks should be avoided especially in polluted cities.
3. Showers should be immediately taken after being outside so as to wash away the allergens so that the exposure to the allergens can be reduced.
4. Windows and doors should be kept shut so as to not allow the outside pollens etc to come in.
5. A dog should be bathed at least twice per week to minimize dander.
6. Carpeting should be removed from the bedroom to avoid dust mite.