What is Allergic Rhinitis? What are the Symptoms?

What is Allergic Rhinitis? What are the Symptoms?

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory response that occurs when the nasal mucosa encounters an airborne allergenic factor. Air pollution, allergic and atopic history, keeping pets and smoking in the house are factors that increase the incidence of allergic rhinitis. In other words, hay fever symptoms usually include sneezing, nasal congestion and itching, itchy and watery eyes. Allergic rhinitis can make a person feel tired and sluggish and negatively affect their daily life. Some medical treatments, immunotherapy and lifestyle changes can provide relief from the unpleasant symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis is an IgE-mediated clinical inflammatory condition that occurs when the mucosa in the nasal cavity (nasal passage) comes into contact with an allergen. IgE is a dominant, but not the only mechanism responsible for the development of symptoms. Allergic rhinitis is thought to affect 20-40% of the world population [6]. Studies have shown that allergic rhinitis is more common in children than in adults. There has also been an increase in the prevalence of the disease in the last 10 years. Allergic rhinitis can be classified as perennial, occupational and seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

Seasonal allergic rhinitis can be caused by allergens outside the home, such as pollen or fungi. This allergic rhinitis can occur together with asthma. Especially in the spring months, wind-borne pollen can be considered the main cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis. It can present with symptoms similar to other types of allergic rhinitis in the form of sneezing, runny nose, asthma, shortness of breath, wheezing, eye allergy, redness and watery eyes. For the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis, a consultation with an allergist and immunologist is recommended. If the specialist deems it necessary, a clear diagnosis is made based on skin, respiratory and blood function tests and the treatment procedure is initiated.

What are the Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis?

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can persist for up to a year. Depending on the region where the patient lives, symptoms may worsen at the beginning of the spring, summer and fall seasons. As the weather warms up, weeds and flowers bloom, which can lead to an increase in the number of pollen, known as flower dust. Allergic rhinitis due to indoor allergies caused by pets such as cats and dogs and dust mites can worsen in winter. This is because cold weather can cause people to spend more time indoors with the windows closed. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be listed as follows:
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose (rhinorrhea),
  • Sneezing,
  • Itching in the nose, ears, palate and throat,
  • Itching, redness, photophobia and discharge from the eyes (allergic conjunctivitis),
  • Headaches
  • Dark circles under the eyes,
  • Sinus pressure
  • Increased mucus secretion from the nose and throat,
  • Fatigue and weakness,
  • Sore throat due to nasal discharge,
  • Difficulty falling asleep and poor sleep,
  • Wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulties.
Allergic Rhinitis

What Causes Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis occurs because the person’s body creates an immune system response to irritants or allergens in the air. Allergens are often quite small, so they can easily enter the body via the nasal route. Even if allergens are harmless to humans, the immune system of patients with allergic rhinitis reacts by recognizing them as a danger. It works to provide protection by releasing natural chemicals into the bloodstream. The main chemical is histamine, and histamine can cause inflammation and itching of the mucous membranes in the nose, eyes and throat as it tries to remove allergens from the body. Allergic rhinitis can be triggered by many causes and its incidence can increase:
  • Family history of allergy and atopy,
  • Air pollution,
  • Increased indoor humidity,
  • Food allergies,
  • Smoking in the home,
  • Pollen from trees, grass and weeds,
  • Dust mites that settle in carpets, curtains, bedding and furniture,
  • Pet hair and dandruff,
  • Indoor and outdoor fungal and mold spores,
  • Cockroach waste and saliva.

What is Allergic Rhinitis Treatment and How Does It Go Away?

Among the questions that patients and their relatives are often curious about are questions such as “How does allergic rhinitis go away?” and “What is good for allergic rhinitis?”. Various allergy medications can help to improve symptoms. Medication can take many different forms: liquids, pills, eye drops, nasal sprays and injections. The correct use of medicines is especially important in the case of persistent allergic rhinitis. Hay fever can be alleviated or resolved within a few days with the right medication, used in the right way. However, medicines should be used until exposure to allergens has ceased. In some special cases, such as pregnancy, allergic rhinitis may continue to show symptoms for several weeks or months if the patient is not taking medication. Before using these medicines, you should consult a specialist physician and obtain a definitive diagnosis of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis can be confused with diseases such as the common cold and asthma. Differential allergy testing is therefore needed. The blood allergy test measures antibodies to the allergen in a blood sample. This blood test is also called an immunoglobulin E (IgE) test. Your healthcare provider may also recommend skin prick or intradermal tests if necessary. After the evaluation of these diagnostic tests, patients diagnosed with allergic rhinitis can start medical treatment by obtaining information about allergic rhinitis medication names recommended by physicians. Among these drug groups, antihistamines are frequently used. They work by suppressing the chemical histamine, which causes the allergic reaction. Antihistamines can be in pill, eye drops, nasal spray and inhaler formulations. Antihistamines can cause sleepiness and drowsiness, so it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking them. Decongestants can be used to relieve congestion in the nose and sinuses. Decongestants are mostly formulated as nasal sprays. However, these medicines must be used with the advice of a doctor. Nasal decongestants should not be used for more than five days. Corticosteroid nasal sprays can also be used to reduce inflammation in the nasal mucosa on the recommendation of a physician. There is no way to prevent allergic rhinitis, but making lifestyle changes can help prevent the onset of allergic symptoms. There are also a few measures you can take to reduce symptoms:
  • You should avoid touching your face, especially rubbing your eyes and nose.
  • You can keep your house and car windows closed during seasons with high pollen counts.
  • It is recommended to use covers over pillows and box springs to protect against dust mites.
  • You can keep your pets away from sofas and beds or keep doors closed to prevent them from entering bedrooms.
  • You should wash your hands after petting your pets.
  • You can use filters in appliances such as vacuum cleaners and air conditioners to reduce allergens in the air.
  • You can use hats and sunglasses to protect your eyes from allergens when you are outside.
In particular, persistent allergic rhinitis can cause symptoms that can negatively affect the quality of life, work, education and sleep. It is therefore necessary to treat these symptoms and, if possible, allergic rhinitis. If you think you are showing symptoms of allergic rhinitis, it is recommended that you consult a specialist physician.
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