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Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, means that the eyes, nose, pharynx and larynx are allergic to certain substances (allergens) leading to inflammatory response. Allergic rhinitis can be divided into two categories:

  • Seasonal – e.g. allergic to pollen
  • Perennial – e.g. allergic to dust, fungus or hair/fur

Symptoms:

sneezing, runny nose, blocked nose, itchy nose, a blunt sense of smell, nasal mucosa ulceration, a red hot nose, etc.
red, itchy, watery eyes
other symptoms: other allergic symptoms e.g. eczema, asthma may occur

Factors that Induce Allergic Rhinitis and Preventive Methods:

  Factors that Induce Allergic Rhinitis Preventive Methods
1.

Allergen stimulates nasal mucosa causing allergic reaction. Examples of allergen are:

  • dust mite, pollen or fungus in your home
  • hair/fur or skin scrapes of animals
  • woollen clothes and down pillows
  • Avoid contact with allergens
  • Keep a clean household environment and prevent accumulation of dust
  • Prevent bathroom and kitchen walls or other dark damp corners getting mouldy. Keep the kitchen and bathroom dry and well ventilated. Anti-fungus or dehumidifying agent may be used
  • Air-conditioner and heater can also become mouldy. Clean the appliance with a wet cloth regularly. Dust filter should be cleansed weekly
  • When making the bed, lift the bedclothes gently to prevent dust from flying everywhere. Then wait for the dust to settle before going to bed. This can reduce the possibility of an allergic attack when you are sleeping
  • Avoid growing flowering plants at home. In flowering seasons, avoid going to the parks
2. Chemicals such as cosmetics, paint, camphor and insecticides stimulate the nasal mucosa and exacerbate the symptoms
  • Avoid the use of makeup, perfume, and shampoo, soap or skin lotion that contain strong scent
  • Wash bedclothes and place them under the sun regularly to prevent them from getting mouldy. Do not put moth balls or camphor together with clothes
  • Only repaint the walls when the victim is not around. Wallpaper is an alternative
  • Avoid using liquid or aerosol type of mosquito-repellant or insecticide. Choose electrical or tablet type instead
3. Certain food, e.g. seafood, alcoholic drinks, spicy food like chilli, pepper and curry can dilate the blood vessels in the nasal mucosa and exacerbate blocked nose
  • Avoid eating food that has caused allergic reaction before
  • Taste a little bit first before enjoying a new kind of food
  • Avoid hot, spicy food and alcohol
4. Air pollution or sudden weather change will induce or exacerbate the symptoms
  • Keep your house well ventilated, e.g. use an air purifier, install an extractor fan in the kitchen
  • Avoid staying in air-polluted places
  • No smoking around the victim
  • In the seasons when influenza is common, avoid going to crowded places such as cinemas or restaurants
  • Beware of sudden changes of temperature both indoor and outdoor, including:
    * Temperature of air-conditioned room should not be too low, maintain a room temperature of about 25oC
    * Always bring a jacket when going to air-conditioned places
    * Wear enough clothes when going out in the cold weather
5. Mental stress, anxiety or excessive fatigue can induce allergic rhinitis
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid excessive fatigue
  • Relax and be cheerful

Management and Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis

  • There is no cure for allergic rhinitis. The main aim is to prevent attacks and ease the symptoms when they happen
  • Most of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are temporary, and will disappear gradually without special treatment
  • Consult a doctor if necessary or when the symptoms become severe. Follow doctor's instruction for proper medication:
    * Oral anti-allergic drugs (may cause drowsiness and is recommend to be taken before sleeping, avoid taking it just before attending a class)
    * Nasal drops
    * Steroid nasal spray
  • If eyes itch, apply a cold, wet towel to the eyes, or use eye drops under doctor's instruction

Advice to parents

  • Allergic rhinitis is not a serious disease, but it does cause anxiety, discomfort and difficulty in sleeping. Caring and understanding from parents are very important
  • Try to find out the allergen and avoid contact with substances that may cause allergic reaction such as dust mite, pollen, fungus, etc.
  • Keep your home clean and ventilated
  • Avoid growing flowering plants at home, nor keeping animals or birds
  • Avoid hot, spicy food and alcohol
  • Do not smoke
  • Beware of sudden changes of temperature
 
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