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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Allergic Rhinitis

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common name

Hay fever, nasal allergies, pollinosis (Eng.)

Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is a reaction to airborne allergens. When a susceptible person inhales a specific allergen, the body responds by releasing histamine, a substance that causes itching, swelling and mucus production.

May occur seasonally (hay fever) or throughout the year (perennial rhinitis).

Symptoms
  • Nasal stuffiness and congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensation of plugged ears
  • Scratchy throat
  • Loss or alteration of smell
  • Itchy nose, eyes, ears and palate
  • Runny nose (rhinorrhea) and postnasal drip
Risk Factors
  • Common outdoor allergens, such as airborne tree, grass and weed pollens or mold (seasonal allergic rhinitis)
  • Common indoor allergens, such as animal dander (dried skin flakes and saliva), indoor mold or droppings from cockroaches or dust mites (perennial allergic rhinitis.)
  • Family History
Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Antihistamines

  • Antihistamines antagonize the effects of histamine. Side Effects: Drowsiness, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, stomach upset, vision changes, irritability, dry mouth, and nose. Consult a doctor or a pharmacist if the following conditions are present: glaucoma, liver/kidney disease, epilepsy. Drug Interaction: Not to be taken simultaneously w/ CNS depressants, MAOI, erythromycin, cimetidine, ketoconazole.

Corticosteroids

  • Corticosteroids provide relief for inflamed areas of the body. They lessen swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions. Side Effects: Long-term use may cause weight gain, stomach ulcers, sleeping difficulties, increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar, delayed wound healing, reduced ability to fight infection.

Decongestants

  • Decongestants reduce the blood supply to the swollen membranes by narrowing the blood vessels. Decongestant nasal sprays and nose drops may cause a problem called rebound congestion if used repeatedly over several days. Drug Interactions: Do not use w/ MAOI, antidepressants, beta-blockers.

Leukotriene Antagonists

  • Leukotrienes Antagonist reduce inflammation
Treatment and Management
  • Limit exposure to offending allergen
  • Control dust and dust mites at home
  • Use an air conditioner or air purifier with a special high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter
  • Avoid carpet, upholstered furniture, and heavy drapes that collect dust
  • Remove "dust collectors" from bedrooms, i.e. stuffed toys, wall hangings, books, knickknacks, and artificial flowers
  • Wash bedding, including pillowcases and mattress covers, in hot water every 2 weeks
  • The most effective way to reduce dust mite allergens is to cover mattresses, box springs, and pillows with allergen-proof covers, and wash them regularly.
  • Keep pets outdoors
  • Avoid smoking
Home Remedies
  • Steam inhalation relieves nasal stuffiness and headache.
  • Inhaling pine and eucalyptus oil in a cotton ball can help clear a stuffy nose.
  • Eye baths are good for itchy and watery eyes.
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