Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction caused by pollens, pet dander, mould and insects. It is also known as hay fever and may develop a cough, sneeze, congestion, and sore throat. Severe symptoms may make you furious, but you can find relief by following lifestyle changes, allergic medications, and immunotherapy.
The allergic reactions are caused by tiny particles called allergens. When you breathe in an allergen, your body produces a chemical called histamine. Several factors may give you hay fever symptoms. Hay fever symptoms are similar to infectious rhinitis, commonly called cold. However, a significant difference between infectious and allergic rhinitis is that allergic rhinitis is not contagious.
During seasonal changes, there is an increase in pollen counts of trees and grass. As a result, allergic rhinitis is common during seasonal changes. However, some people have allergies throughout the year. The perennial allergies are caused by irritants such as pet dander, dust mites, and cockroaches.
The symptoms that may appear in most people with allergic rhinitis are:
- Runny and stuffy nose
- An itchy nose
- Sore throat
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Under-eye dark circles
- Symptoms that resemble eczema
You may experience cold-like symptoms like itchy and runny nose and watery eyes after exposure to an allergen. These symptoms start to develop as soon as you get exposed to the allergens.
The frequency and duration of allergic rhinitis differ in different people. Some people may get allergic rhinitis during a particular season. It happens because they may be allergic to grass and tree pollen, while others may suffer from it throughout the year.
Most people have mild symptoms of allergic rhinitis that may get cured quickly. However, some may develop severe symptoms that may interfere with their daily lives. The symptoms may take time to reduce, and you can see an improvement in your condition. Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed that the symptoms will disappear over a few years.
You may consult a doctor if:
- You have hay fever, and there is no improvement in your condition.
- You witness the side effects of allergic medications.
- You have other health complications like nasal polyps, asthma, and sinus infections.
Children and adults both can develop hay fever symptoms. It is recommended to get the proper treatment to prevent severe symptoms.
Allergic rhinitis is an immune response to an irritant in the air. These irritants could be tree or grass pollen, pet dander, moulds, cockroaches, and dust mites. These irritants get into your body while you breathe.
The irritants are tiny particles and get inside your nose and mouth quickly. These do not pose any harm to most people. But if you have hay fever, these allergens can impact your health severely. Moreover, your body treats them as intruders and protects you against these allergens by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream. For example, the body releases histamine to fight allergies. However, histamine can cause inflammation in the mucous membrane of your nose, eyes, and throat.
Many times, nose and throat inflammation is caused by food allergies. It could be life-threatening, and hence you must take medical attention immediately. Moreover, if you have food allergies, you can be more watchful while eating your favourite foods.
If you are suffering from any of the following medical conditions, you are at a high risk of developing hay fever.
- Other allergies or asthma
- Atopic dermatitis
- A blood relative with allergies or asthma
- Persistent exposure to allergens like dust mites and pet danders
- If your mother consumed or smoked tobacco during your first year of life
If you have hay fever, you may get the following health risks:
- Reduced wellbeing
Hay fever may impact your quality of life. For example, if you have persistent hay fever, you may get distracted from your work. Moreover, you may not enjoy your favourite activities like you used to do.
- Poor sleep
It may impact your sleep cycle; as a result, you feel unwell and tired most of the time. Moreover, you may find it challenging to get sleep.
It can give you severe asthma attacks and may cause coughing and wheezing.
Hay fever may make you vulnerable to sinusitis. It is an inflammation in the sinuses membrane.
- Ear infection
It may cause middle ear infections in children.
It is challenging to avoid hay fever. So it is best to limit your exposure to the allergens and take allergy medications whenever necessary.
The allergic rhinitis diagnosis starts with a physical examination. Moreover, your doctor may look at your medical history to know about your allergies. After the physical examination, they may ask you to undergo the following tests:
- Skin prick test
Allergy specialists prick a small amount of allergy-causing materials into your skin and then observe how your body reacts to this activity. For example, if you are allergic to a particular material, you may develop a raised bump on your skin.
- Allergy blood test
Your doctor takes a blood sample and sends them to a diagnostic lab to measure your immune response to a specific allergen. An allergy blood test, also known as RAST (Radioallergosorbent test), is used to quantify the extent of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream.
Both of these tests are effective in determining the causes of your allergic reaction. In addition, a skin prick test is majorly performed by allergy specialists to know the exact allergy-causing material behind your skin rashes or hives.
People with allergic rhinitis may choose homeopathy for their treatment. Homeopathy has emerged as a successful alternative treatment for allergic rhinitis. It is because the drugs are natural, effective, and safe to use. Moreover, some people are allergic to conventional medicines for hay fever. They may witness side effects due to the medical composition of traditional allergy medications.
Homeopathy medicines do not cause any adverse effects like drowsiness. Therefore, allergy patients opt for homeopathic treatment. Moreover, these medicines act as an immunomodulator and regulate your immune system. In some cases, clinicians may recommend homeopathic treatment along with conventional medications.
It is essential to be careful and look for the factors that trigger your hay fever. However, if your hay fever symptoms are not severe, you may take over-the-counter medications to tackle the symptoms and get relief. For severe symptoms that hinder your daily activities, you must take prescription medications.
Many people get effective results by taking a combination of medicines. However, to find the best medicine combination for your situation, you can try a few combinations after discussing them with your doctor.
If your child has hay fever, you can talk to your doctor before using an over-the-counter product. The OTC medications may not provide effective results for a child. It is suggested to read the labels carefully before giving medicine to a child.