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Allergic rhinitis is a type of inflammation in the nose, which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air.The signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis include a runny or stuffy nose; sneezing, red, itchy, and watery eyes; and swelling around the eyes. The nose fluid is typically transparent. Also, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, sore throat, anosmia, coughing, frequent headaches, eczema-type symptoms, such as extremely dry, itchy skin that often have blisters and hives can also be seen.
Symptom onset is usually within minutes post exposure. It can affect sleep, the ability to work, and the ability to concentrate at school. Those people whose symptoms are due to pollen typically develop symptoms during specific times of the year. Many individuals with allergic rhinitis also show asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, or atopic dermatitis.
Rhinitis can be classified into two types:
- 1. Allergic rhinitis: It occurs due to a weak immune system and due to allergens, such as pollen, dust, mites, etc.
- 2. Nonallergic rhinitis: In this case, rhinitis is not due to allergens and characterized by a runny nose and nasal blockage throughout the year.
According to ayurveda, allergic rhinitis is compared with Vata-Kapha pratishaya. The concept of Ama (toxins) and Virudhaahara (incompatible foods, such as fish with milk, fruit juice with milk, clarified butter with honey, ice cream after night meals, etc.) leads to allergic rhinitis. The main motive behind the treatment of all diseases is to keep the doshas in equilibrium.
In ayurveda, there are three steps in treating any disease, namely samsodhana (cleansing process), samsamana (palliative measures), and nidanaparivarjana (treating the cause). Pathya (diet regimen) is given, and also, Shodhan chikitsa is advised. It is essentially a body purification therapy which eradicates toxins and refurbishes the tridhoshas, namely, Vatha, Pitha, and Kapha, to a balanced condition.
Following ayurvedic treatment procedures are used to treat allergic rhinitis:
- Shiro abhyanga: During this treatment, either specific oils or herbal preparations are applied on the forehead.
- Mukha abhyanga: It is a classical method of facial massage and detoxification, which is done by using an herbal cream.
- Swedana: It involves sudation or sweating.
- Nasya: It involves the introduction of medicines through the nose.
- Lepa/Talam: It involves an application of herbal medicines in the form of a paste, which is applied externally.
One should also keep the following diet and lifestyle modifications in mind:
- Have freshly-prepared, warm food.
- Avoid stale and junk food.
- Kapha-aggravating foods, such as dairy, wheat, sugar, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, bananas, oranges, and grapefruits, should be avoided.
- Cover your nose in dusty or cold surroundings.
- Whenever you feel slight congestion, take a steam inhalation treatment.
- Avoid sleeping in the open and cover yourself properly before going to sleep.
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