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Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever): Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Wednesday 26th of September 2018

Runny nose is one of the most frequent conditions that occur in people. It often develops due to colds, but the allergic form of the condition is also not rare. Below we will tell you all the basic information you need to know about allergic rhinitis.

Contents

  • 1 What is Allergic Rhinitis?
  • 2 Types of Allergic Rhinitis
  • 3 What is Allergic Rhinitis?
  • 4 Types of Allergic Rhinitis
  • 5 Causes of the Condition
    • 5.1 Allergic Rhinitis Causative Allergens
    • 5.2 Allergic Rhinitis Symptoms
    • 5.3 Allergic Rhinitis Diagnosis
  • 6 Treatment Methods
    • 6.1 Medication Treatments
  • 7 Preventive Measures

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is an inflammatory ailment, which occurs in case of the immune system overreaction to allergic substances in the air.

According to scientific research by D. Skoner (2001), allergic rhinitis affects between 20 & 40 million individuals in the United States of America. According to the study by Lisa M. Wheatley (2015), it is estimated that approximately 15–30 per cent of individuals in the US suffer from allergic rhinitis. This condition negatively affects an everyday activity of children and adult persons as well as unfavorably influences quality of their lives. It often coexists with other allergic ailments, such as asthma*. And vice versa, a lot of individuals having asthma also suffer from rhinitis.

Read more about asthma in this article: https://awcanadianpharmacy.com/blog/an-overview-on-asthma/

Types of Allergic Rhinitis

Depending on the duration of the course of allergic rhinitis, the following types are distinguished:

  1. Persistent (perennial). Allergy aggravation, as a rule, lasts for several days, the condition has chronic nature.

  2. Intermittent (seasonal). Allergy aggravation, lasts for several hours after individual contacts with the allergen.

Seasonal rhinitis is usually easily detected, since its occurrence is associated with exposure to pollen. The perennial form of the disease is more difficult to detect because it is often combined with sinusitis, vasomotor rhinitis and respiratory infections. According to a study by D. Skoner (2001), 20 percent of cases represent seasonal rhinitis, 40 percent are perennial and 40 percent are mixed forms of this condition.

In children, hay fever rarely occurs alone. Against the background of exposure to various allergens, allergic rhinitis develops, as a rule, along with Quincke's disease, allergic skin conditions, laryngitis, bronchial asthma, allergic processes in the mucous membrane of the paranasal sinuses, and allergic pharyngitis. As for adults, they have the above concomitant diseases occur more rarely, which is partly due to the strengthening of immunity in adulthood.

children allergyRunny nose is one of the most frequent conditions that occur in people. It often develops due to colds, but the allergic form of the condition is also not rare. Below we will tell you all the basic information you need to know about allergic rhinitis.

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is an inflammatory ailment, which occurs in case of the immune system overreaction to allergic substances in the air.

According to scientific research by D. Skoner (2001), allergic rhinitis affects between 20 & 40 million individuals in the United States of America. According to the study by Lisa M. Wheatley (2015), it is estimated that approximately 15–30 per cent of individuals in the US suffer from allergic rhinitis. This condition negatively affects an everyday activity of children and adult persons as well as unfavorably influences quality of their lives. It often coexists with other allergic ailments, such as asthma*. And vice versa, a lot of individuals having asthma also suffer from rhinitis.

Read more about asthma in this article: https://awcanadianpharmacy.com/blog/an-overview-on-asthma/

Types of Allergic Rhinitis

Depending on the duration of the course of allergic rhinitis, the following types are distinguished:

  1. Persistent (perennial). Allergy aggravation, as a rule, lasts for several days, the condition has chronic nature.

  2. Intermittent (seasonal). Allergy aggravation, lasts for several hours after individual contacts with the allergen.

Seasonal rhinitis is usually easily detected, since its occurrence is associated with exposure to pollen. The perennial form of the disease is more difficult to detect because it is often combined with sinusitis, vasomotor rhinitis and respiratory infections. According to a study by D. Skoner (2001), 20 percent of cases represent seasonal rhinitis, 40 percent are perennial and 40 percent are mixed forms of this condition.

In children, hay fever rarely occurs alone. Against the background of exposure to various allergens, allergic rhinitis develops, as a rule, along with Quincke's disease, allergic skin conditions, laryngitis, bronchial asthma, allergic processes in the mucous membrane of the paranasal sinuses, and allergic pharyngitis. As for adults, they have the above concomitant diseases occur more rarely, which is partly due to the strengthening of immunity in adulthood.

children allergy

Causes of the Condition

People living in megacities are much more likely to develop this disease than residents of small towns. As a rule, hay fever develops at an early age (before 20). It can arise primarily due to the existence of exudative diathesis (hereditary predisposition of the organism to allergic reactions) or as a reaction to preventive vaccination. Subsequently, with age, symptoms may become weaker, but they cannot be completely cured.

Factors provoking the development of hay fever, include:

  • hereditary predisposition;

  • smoking of an expecting mother during pregnancy;

  • premature birth;

  • frequent infectious respiratory diseases;

  • frequent and unreasonable prescription of antibacterial drugs for colds;

  • specific structure of the nasal cavity (for instance, deviated septum);

  • air pollution;

  • use of hairspray, perfumes;

  • eating certain foods;

  • frequent psychoemotional stresses.

Allergic Rhinitis Causative Allergens

The catalyst for hay fever symptoms development is the inhalation of particles of the irritant and their settling on the mucosa of the nasal cavity.

The list of possible allergens includes:

  • pollen of plants (examples include birch, olive, hinoki, and ragweed, also known as Ambrosia);

  • animal dander;

  • dust in the house;

  • fungi spores;

  • dust mites;

  • cat saliva;

  • some food products (for example, Balsam of Peru);

  • some medicines and the like.

Exacerbations of allergic rhinitis can be provoked by sharp smells, exposure to cold air, etc. Children at an early age are more prone to food and inhalant allergens. Adolescents and adults are more prone to medical and household allergens.

Allergic Rhinitis Symptoms

The condition manifests itself in the form of itching, sneezing attacks, abundant mucus in the nasal cavity, swelling and redness of the conjunctiva and face, as well as pain in the head, secretion of tear fluid and rapid heart rate. The nasal mucous membrane is characterized by a severe swelling and a cyanotic-pale color.

A typical example of the disease is the so-called hay fever, which appears only in the spring and / or summer, during the flowering of certain plant species or haymaking. At night, the symptoms decrease, but during the day they resume. This type of allergic rhinitis lasts about a month, then it ends and the nasal mucosa becomes normal.

Allergic Rhinitis Diagnosis

When diagnosing the condition, a doctor examines an anamnesis. He / she also examines the nasal mucosa condition (the so-called rhinoscopy). In addition, laboratory diagnosis (for instance, eosinophil count blood test, an increased number of eosinophils confirms the presence of an allergic process), allergy testing (skin provocative tests), and urgent use of antihistamines can be performed.

A doctor also performs differential diagnostics of allergic rhinitis & non-allergic forms of this condition, such as vasomotor rhinitis and chronic rhinosinusitis. Lisa M. Wheatley notes that in allergic clinics only 4-5 percent of patients are diagnosed as "non-allergic rhinitis," but she believes that this estimate is related to the nature of treatment in this type of clinic. In fact, the non-allergic form can account for up to half of all cases of rhinitis.

Treatment Methods

Therapy of allergic rhinitis is aimed at the prevention & treatment of acute conditions and the weakening of manifestations of the condition. It consists of two stages.

  1. The first stage. At this stage, a patient is “withdrawn” from the acute phase. First of all, the effect of the allergen must be eliminated. He or she should use antihistamine (antiallergic) drugs. Activated carbon or other sorbents may be used to accelerate the withdrawal of allergens.

  2. The second stage. At the second stage (remission period), specific hyposensitization, also known as allergen immunotherapy, is performed. Additionally, measures aimed at changing the patient's reactivity and preventing the relapse of allergic rhinitis should be done. In the time interval between attacks, patients can use some meds. Since allergic rhinitis may be accompanied by hyperplasia of nasal conchae of varying degrees, in some situations, laser treatment is possible.

Medication Treatments

Drugs that can be used for the ailment include antihistamines, decongestants, and other types of medical remedies.

  1. Antihistamines. These meds inhibit the production of histamine (chemical substance involved in immune reactions) in the body. They belong to over-the-counter products, that is they can be freely bought without a healthcare professional’s prescription. The most common examples include Allegra (Fexofenadine)**, Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)***, and Clarinex (Desloratadine)****. These drugs are cheap and easy to use.

  2. Decongestants. These drugs may be used for a short time (up to 3 days) in order to relieve nose symptoms. Prolonged administration may lead to rebound effects – symptoms get worsened after stopping the treatment. This group of meds include Sudafed and Afrin.

  3. Nasal sprays/Eye drops. These medications may relieve allergy symptoms in a short-term perspective, however, prolonged use is also not recommended, as in the case with decongestants. Nevertheless, there is a specific group of nasal sprays – corticosteroid sprays. They may be used as s long-term treatment as directed by a healthcare expert.

  4. Immunotherapy. This term implies anti-allergy shots. They help the organism reduce inflammatory response to allergens. Immunotherapy requires long-term administration.

  5. Sublingual immunotherapy. This is an innovative way to treat hay fever and other types of allergies. It involves the use of sublingual pills containing some allergens. These pills decrease inflammatory reactions to real allergens with the lapse of time.

In addition, Singulair (Montelukast)*****, which belongs to the group of leukotriene inhibitors (leukotriene is one of inflammatory mediators), works well in many persons.

For more information about Allegra (Fexofenadine), please visit this page: https://awcanadianpharmacy.com/item/allegra.html

For more information about Benadryl (Diphenhydramine), please visit this page: https://awcanadianpharmacy.com/item/benadryl.html

For more information about Clarinex (Desloratadine), please visit this page: https://awcanadianpharmacy.com/item/clarinex.html

For more information about Singulair (Montelukast), please visit this page: https://awcanadianpharmacy.com/item/singulair.html

Preventive Measures

It's no secret that any disease is easier to prevent than to treat. Allergic rhinitis has chronic nature (as a rule, it is a lifelong ailment), but due to preventive measures, it is possible to reduce the manifestation of unpleasant symptoms.

Patients must avoid any contact with allergens. If the contact is inevitable, they should use preventive dosages of special sprays and other medicines in advance. It is necessary to pay great attention to hygiene of the nasal cavity and to wash the nasal passages with salt liquids. And, of course, they need to carefully monitor the conditions in which they live. A patient (his / her parents or relatives) need to remove stuffed toys, books (any items where dust may be accumulated), flowering plants, do wet cleaning more frequent, and use humidifiers.

Also, a patient should follow the principles of proper nutrition and hypoallergenic diet. All these measures significantly reduce the risk of allergy attacks occurrence.

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