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Allergic Rhinitis & Asthma!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MD Respiratory Medicine, Ph.D - Physiology, FCCP (USA), DAA
Allergist/Immunologist, Kolkata  •  25years experience
Allergic Rhinitis & Asthma!

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa. In popular parlance, it is called hay fever. Allergic rhinitis is the response to the presence of certain allergens (usually harmless but they bring out allergies in certain people). It afflicts people during season changes because that is the time when flowers blossom and pollen (an allergen) becomes prevalent. It affects 10 million people in India every year.

Allergic asthma like allergic rhinitis is a reaction against certain allergens that constrict the trachea. 50% of asthma attacks in adults are triggered by some form of allergy. If you exercise at a time when pollution levels go up, or if you smoke, your chances of asthma attack due to allergies increase.

What causes an allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma?

When our body senses the presence of allergens, it starts producing histamine. Histamine helps the body combat the allergen. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are actually the side effects of histamine.

What are some common allergens responsible for allergic rhinitis and /or allergic asthma?

• Grass pollen
• Mold
• The saliva of a pet
• Dust mites
• Sloughed off cells of animal skin
• Perfumes/hair spray
• Cigarette smoke

What are the symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis/allergic asthma?

These symptoms manifest the moment a person comes in contact with an allergen.

• Sore and runny nose
Blocked nose
• Agitated throat
• Watery or itchy eyes
• Eczema-like patches of skin that are accompanied with itching

Allergic reaction differs from one person to another. Some people become affected when exposed to a small amount of allergens. Some can recover from hay fever in a short span, whereas, many have to live with the symptoms recurrently throughout the year.

What are the types of allergic rhinitis/allergic asthma?

1. Seasonal allergic rhinitis: it afflicts people during certain times of the year. It becomes especially wide spread during spring and autumn.

2. Perennial allergic rhinitis: it can afflict a person all through the year. Perennial allergic rhinitis is a reaction to allergens that float around in the air throughout the year.

What are the tests that can diagnose allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma?

1. The Skin Prick Test: The simplest and extensive practiced test is the Skin Prick Test. The doctor places small quantities of known allergens on a section of your skin to determine which substance you are allergic to. This test is effective for determining the cause of both allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma.

2. Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST): It is a blood test that takes stock of the amount of immunoglobulin E antibodies present in your blood. Based on the test, your doctor will decide on the medication.

3. An IgE or slgE is a simple blood test that can detect allergic asthma.

How is allergic rhinitis/allergic asthma treated?

The same kind of treatment that is works against allergic rhinitis is also effective in curbing allergic asthma.

1. Antihistamines: this is the most trusted medication when it comes to curbing allergic rhinitis. Antihistamines inhibit the production of histamines which is the cause of allergic reaction. These are prescription drugs.

2. Decongestants: they can clear congested nose or ease sinus pain. But they should not be used for prolonged stretches of time because that has a rebound effect. Your allergies will come back when you stop using a decongestant. If you have a history of stroke, sleep disorder, abnormal heart rhythm then you should consult your doctor before using a decongestant.

3. Corticosteroids: they help bring down nasal inflammation and raises your body’s immune response.

4. Immunotherapy: immunotherapy consists of allergy shots. A doctor suggests immunotherapy when you show signs of severe allergic rhinitis. The shots are spaced out and you need to complete the regime.

Home remedies for allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma-

1. Tea made with chamomile, mint, ginger, asafetida, chillipeppers can bring the symptoms of allergic rhinitis under check

2. Install a filter to your air conditioner.

Allergic reaction is a common inconvenience that is not much cause for worry. It can easily be treated and controlled.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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