Otorhinolaryngological Diseases
Allergic Rhinitis
​Allergic Rhinitis
(Hay Fever)
 
Overview:
  • Occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air.
  • Its symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but clear up when not exposed to the allergen.
  • Any type of allergy is a risk factor.
  • Treatment may not eliminate symptoms, but it can reduce their impact.
  • Keeping away from allergens is a key preventive measure.
 
Definition of Allergy:
Allergy features immune system response to airborne substances (such as pollen, mold spores, fungi, some food... etc.), which do not affect normal people.
Your immune system usually attacks harmful substances. Yet, in allergic rhinitis, the immune system mistakes a harmless substance for a harmful one, and the body releases the chemical histamine to fight it, which causes the symptoms. Usually, people are allergic to several substances.
 
What is allergic rhinitis?
is a type of inflammation in the nose which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Symptom onset is often within minutes following exposure and they can affect sleep, the ability to work, and the ability to concentrate at school.
 
Other Known Names:
Allergic rhinitis - hay fever.
 
Difference between allergic rhinitis, cold and influenza:
  • Allergic rhinitis lasts as far as the person is exposed to allergens, while cold or influenza continues 3-7 days.
  • Unlike cold or influenza, allergic rhinitis does not cause high temperature.
  • Unlike cold or influenza, the fluid from the nose is usually thin and clear.
  • Itchy nose, mouth, eyes, throat or skin.
 
Causes:
  • Genetic factors: If a close family member has hay fever or another allergy, the risk is higher.
  • Pollens are the key trigger of allergic rhinitis. The amount of pollen in the air can affect whether hay fever symptoms develop or not. Hot, dry, windy days are more likely to have a lot of pollen in the air. On cool, damp, rainy days, most pollen is washed to the ground.
  • Other allergens such as animal dander, dust, mold, some types of smoke and odor.
 
Symptoms:
  • Sneezing.
  • Cough.
  • Itching, usually in the nose, mouth, eyes, throat or skin.
  • Runny nose.
  • Congested sinuses.
  • Puffy eyelids.
  • Headache.
  • Scratchy throat.
  • Swollen watery eyes.
Diagnosis:
A doctor will look at the symptoms and ask about personal and family medical history. Then the doctor may need to test sinuses for inflammation or swelling, sometimes using
 
Risk Factor:
  • Several factors make it more likely to develop allergic rhinitis, including:
  • other allergies (such as: asthma, eczema ... etc.)
  • If a family member has an allergy history.
  • Direct exposure to allergens, at home or at work.
 
Complications:
  • Acute asthma.
  • Sinusitis.
  • Otitis Media.
 
Treatment:
Treatment may not eliminate symptoms, but it can reduce their impact. This includes:
  • Medicinal treatment (prescription):
    • Antihistamines (pills, sprays or drops).
    • Corticosteroid spray.
    • Decongestants (pills or drops).
  • Lifestyle:
    • For mild allergic rhinitis, a nasal wash can help remove mucus from the nose. You can buy a saline solution at a drug store or make one at home.

If symptoms do not clear up in 2-4 weeks, or affect your productivity or daily tasks, you should consult a doctor.

 
Prevention:

Avoid exposure to allergens, i.e. to control the surrounding milieu by:

  • Keeping car and home windows closed, and avoiding gardens during spring and early summer (high pollen period).
  • Avoiding animals that trigger allergy, such as cats, horses and birds.
  • Reduce dust mite (tiny organisms that feed on skin flakes from humans. Their dry waste spreads in the air. When breathed, the symptoms of allergic rhinitis show up. They are found on bed sheets, pillow covers, curtains and upholstered furniture) Eliminate them by:
    • Using tissue that does not keep dust.
    • Avoiding pillow stuffed with feathers, or woolen blankets.
    • Washing pillow covers and bed sheets one a week at least.
    • Vacuum cleaning floors by non-allergic persons.
    • using a damp cloth to clean furniture.
    • Reducing furniture pieces as far as possible in a patient's room and replacing normal curtains with venetian blinds.
    • Keeping cloth in a closed wardrobe.
    • Keeping animals away from bedrooms.

 

 
 
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Last Update 04 March 2018 10:14 AM
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