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GaramChai features Medical articles by Dr.Kumaresh Krishnamoorthy
nose is separated into two passages by a wall of cartilage
called the septum and is lined with a membrane that produces
mucus. The mucus, a thin clear liquid, traps small particles
and bacteria that are drawn into the nose as a person breathes.
The trapped bacteria usually remain harmless in healthy individuals.
Normally, a cycle of congestion and decongestion occurs continuously
throughout the day. When one side of the nose is congested,
air passes through the open, or decongested, side. The sides
alternate between being wide open and being narrowed.
What is allergic rhinitis?
rhinitis is an soreness or irritation of the mucous membranes
that line the nose. Common symptoms include sneezing; a stuffy
or runny nose; itchy eyes, nose and throat; and watery eyes.
You may also have a nasal voice; breathe noisily; snore; feel
chronically tired; have a poor appetite; feel nauseated; have
frequent headaches; and, have some difficulty hearing and
rhinitis happens when an allergen (an allergy-producing substance,
such as pollen) causes your body to defend itself by producing
antibodies. When an allergen and an antibody combine, your
body releases histamine and other chemical substances into
your bloodstream, which causes an allergic response. Pollen,
dust, mold or other substances that can be inhaled, are common
allergens that cause symptoms.
allergic rhinitis usually results from tree, grass, weeds
or pollen and is experienced during summer. Perennial allergic
rhinitis can cause year-round symptoms. This allergic reaction
is the result of indoor irritants such as feathers; mold spores,
animal danderís (hair and skin shed by pets), or mould spores,
which are carried in the air.
are the signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
of allergic rhinitis are similar to signs of a common cold.
But, unlike common cold symptoms, allergic rhinitis can last
for more than 8-10 days and may include:
- A stuffy
nose or a runny nose.
nose, itchy eyes or watery eyes.
who have allergic rhinitis might have dark circles under
their eyes, or use the palm of their hand to push their
nose up as they try to stop the itching (called the ďallergic
caused by clear mucus running down the back of your throat.
best treatment for your allergy is to avoid the allergen.
When this is not possible, medication can usually control
the symptoms of a reaction. These medications are used to
treat allergic rhinitis:
Antihistamines block the action of the histamine (the substance
which triggers the reaction). They are considered the "mainstay
of treatment." They are more effective when taken around
the clock. They can cause you to become drowsy, especially
if you combine them with alcohol. Other side effects include
dizziness, blurred vision, insomnia, tremors, nausea and
dry mouth. If any of the side effects are a problem, discuss
them with your practitioner.
can give short-term relief from nasal stuffiness. However,
many decongestants promote histamine release. This can cause
a "rebound" effect that ultimately makes you even
more congested than before. Use them only on a short-term,
special occasion basis (i.e., unable to sleep for several
nights, a test, a date, etc.).
may lessen your allergic reaction by preventing body cells
from responding to histamine. For allergic rhinitis, these
compounds are administered via a nasal spray. Minimal side
effects have been found even with chronic use at customary
dosage. For profound allergy symptoms, a one-time very short
course of systemic cortisteroid may be considered as a last
sodium inhibits the body's release of histamine after exposure
to an antigen, which can lessen or stop the allergic response.
If you are allergic to a substance that you are exposed
to occasionally, you would only take this medication prior
to exposure. Side effects are minimal. Unfortunately, not
everyone is helped by this medication.
or (allergy shots) are also used in cases of allergic rhinitis.
It is effective only when a specific allergen can be identified.
Since you are allergic to the substance injected, you may
experience severe allergic responses. Therefore, if you
undergo immunotherapy, you should work closely with your
physician and report any symptoms of reaction to the injection.
Immunotherapy is not a "quick fix" and may take
six months before effectiveness is noted. It is very helpful
for many people.
cannot prevent an allergy, but you can prevent a reaction.
The most effective method you can use to prevent a reaction
is to avoid the allergen that triggers your allergic response.
Try these steps:
itís best not to have pets when you have allergic rhinitis,
washing your pet once a week and keeping it out of the bedroom
and off the furniture will help.
pillows and mattresses in sealed plastic covers that keep
out dust mites
sheets in hot water every week.
foam rubber, or pillows more than five years old are often
windows closed, so that there will not be so many pollens
and molds in the house.
a mask when cleaning the house
your home of indoor plants
synthetic materials for your bedding, pillow and blankets
with the head of bed elevated to relieve nasal congestion
good health by exercising daily, eating balanced food and
out decorative pillows, books, and stuffed animals
clothing so dust will not settle on it
Dr.Kumaresh Krishnamoorthy, M.S (ENT)
Head and Neck Surgery Fellowship (Buffalo, USA)
Neurotology & Skull Base Surgery Fellowship (Cincinnati,
Senior Consultant in ENT - Head and Neck Surgeon and Skull
Apollo Hospitals, 154/11, Bannerghatta Road, BANGALORE 560
Phone: 91-(0) - 99002 36819