Under KAHER, JNMC, BELAGAVI. On behalf of all faculty members of our department Otorhinolaryngology & HNS, I Dr Vishwanath M Gowda as a co-ordinator of Rhino allergy clinic, would like to share details regarding Allergic Rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is the inflammation of the inside of the nose that occurs due to allergens like dust, mould, pollen, insects or even skin flakes. Allergic rhinitis causes congestion, sneezing, sore throat and itchy nose. A study conducted among Indian children showed that 11.3% of kids as young as 6 or 7 years show signs of allergic rhinitis and around 20–30 % of the Indian population suffers from allergic rhinitis, but there is no reason to worry, as, with just a few lifestyle changes and proper care, you can easily overcome it.
What Is an Allergy?
An allergy is the body’s immune reaction to something it deems as harmful. Allergies can be seasonal or perennial. There are three major types of allergies: allergic rhinitis, food allergy and eczema. Each kind has different symptoms to different allergens, but can easily be detected with Serum IgE test or Skin Prick Test.
What Is the cause for Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is an immune response that occurs when you breathe in outdoor or indoor allergens such as dust, animal dander, or pollen. Grass pollen is the most common allergen. If you have symptoms triggered or aggravated at the work-place, then the condition is said to be occupational rhinitis. An allergen is usually a harmless substance but can cause the release of a natural chemical known as histamine in your body. This can cause significant morbidity, healthcare costs and, in most cases, loss of productivity. Although historically, allergic rhinitis was thought to be a disorder of the nose passage alone; it has recently been classified as a component of a systemic allergic response associated with other more severe conditions like atopic dermatitis and asthma.
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis :
Here are some of the most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis
- A runny nose
- An itchy nose
- Itchy eyes
- A stuffy nose
- Watery eyes
- Frequent headaches
- A sore or scratchy throat
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Eczema-like symptoms, e.g., dry, itchy skin that blisters and weeps
- Excessive fatigue
While you might feel one or more of these symptoms immediately, others may only see symptoms when exposed to the allergen in large quantities. Some signs, like recurrent headaches and fatigue, can also appear after long-term allergen exposure.
In some people, an allergy can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. The following are the signs of this reaction:
- Constriction and tightening of the airways
- Shock and severe drop in blood pressure
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
- Rapid pulse
- Swelling in the throat or difficulty breathing caused by the feeling of a lump in the throat
If you observe any of these symptoms, it is best to avail of emergency treatment, as when left untreated, anaphylaxis can cause coma or, in severe cases, even death.
Dr. Vishwanath M Gowda
MBBS MS ENT