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Causes and Prevention of Allergic Rhinitis

Causes and Prevention of Allergic Rhinitis

Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis is a common condition faced by many. Its symptoms are similar to those of a cold. This condition is caused due to numerous reasons, but you don’t need to worry as there are several ways as far as prevention of allergy rhinitis is concerned.

In this article, you will be reading about allergy rhinitis, causes of allergy rhinitis, and prevention of allergy rhinitis.

Understanding allergic rhinitis

Allergy rhinitis or hay fever is an allergic response to airborne allergens like pollen. As said, the symptoms of hay fever are similar to a cold. Therefore, sinus pressure, sneezing, runny nose, and congestion can also be the signs of allergy rhinitis.

There are two types of allergy rhinitis like seasonal and perennial allergy rhinitis.

Seasonal allergy rhinitis occurs in early fall, spring, and summer. This condition causes allergic sensitivity to airborne pollen and mold spores from weeds, grass, and trees.

Perennial allergy rhinitis is year-round. People suffer from perennial allergy rhinitis due to mold, pet hair, pet dander, dust mites, and cockroaches. Also, food allergies can rarely cause perennial nasal symptoms.

The symptoms of allergy rhinitis that you are likely to see are as follows:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Dark circles
  • Sore or scratchy throat
  • Eczema-type symptoms like extremely dry or itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Watery eyes
  • Fatigue

Prevention of Allergic Rhinitis

You might experience one or more of these symptoms immediately after coming into contact with an allergen. You may also have severe headaches and fatigue when you are in long-term exposure to allergens.

What are the causes of allergic rhinitis?

You may experience allergy rhinitis when your immune system mistakes normal harmless airborne substances for a threat.

Naturally, your body produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) to fight these threats. Also, it releases histamine, a chemical that is involved in the anti-inflammatory response. Over-production of histamine causes the symptoms of hay fever.

You will be down with seasonal hay fever when triggers like pollen and spores cause symptoms at certain times of the year.

Other causes of allergic rhinitis include cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust fumes, and perfumes.

Prevention of allergic rhinitis

Here we talk about prevention of allergy rhinitis in detail.

Nasal sprays and eye drops

Nasal sprays and eye drops can relieve irritation and other allergy-related symptoms. However, you should use nasal sprays and eye drops after your doctor’s suggestion.

Remember, these nasal sprays and eye drops are not useful for long-term and overusing can also cause a rebound effect. Hence, use them only as advised.

Corticosteroids are a type of steroids that can help with immune response and body inflammation. These types of drugs have no rebound effects. Doctors commonly recommend steroid nasal sprays as a long-term and useful way to manage allergy symptoms.

However, it is advised to use such nasal sprays and eye drops after a doctor’s recommendation.

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)

As a part of SLIT, you need to place a tablet comprising a mixture of various allergens under your tongue. This process works similar to allergy shots but without injections.

Sublingual immunotherapy, currently, is effective for asthma and rhinitis allergies caused by ragweed, grass, dust mites, cat dander, and tree pollen. After a doctor’s consultation, you can take Oralair treatment – one of the types of SLIT treatment, at your home for certain grass allergies.

However, you should know that there are side effects of SLIT treatment. This includes throat irritation and itching in the ear and mouth. It is rarely that SLIT treatment can cause anaphylaxis.

Talk to your doctor before undergoing sublingual immunotherapy.

Antihistamines

You can use antihistamines to treat allergic reactions. As said, histamines are the chemicals that take care of the inflammation in the body. Excess production of histamine can cause allergy rhinitis. So, to prevent allergic reactions, you can use different antihistamines such as:

  • Loratadine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Desloratadine
  • Levocetirizine
  • Fexofenadine
  • Cetirizine

However, before using these medicines, ensure you ask your doctor. Ensure OTC medicines cause no allergic reactions.

Immunotherapy

If you have several allergies, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy. This technique decreases your immune response to any allergens over time. You can use this technique along with medicines to control symptoms.

Immunotherapy is effective in controlling allergic symptoms, but does not help to control nonallergic rhinitis symptoms.

There are two types of immunotherapy your doctor may suggest – sublingual tablets or allergy shots. As mentioned above, sublingual immunotherapy involves keeping a tablet that has a mixture of allergens under your tongue. It helps treat allergic reactions.

Allergy shots consisting of injections of a diluted allergy extract can take three to five years to show the effects. With an improvement in the body, your doctor may change the dosage to help you more efficiently.

Understand immunotherapy and its types from your doctor along with possible side effects.

Home remedies

Below are the suggestions that you can try for minimising the impact.

  • Keep the windows and doors of your room shut when the pollen count is high. This prevents seasonal allergy rhinitis.
  • Stay away from cigarette smoke and if you are a smoker, quitting smoking is the best option.
  • Use mite-proof bedding.
  • Keep everything in the room dust-free. This includes your cupboards, wardrobes, floor, carpets, furniture, and washroom.
  • Use wrap-around glasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
  • Wear a hat when stepping out of the house to prevent pollen collection in your hair.
  • Choose low-pollen days for activities like gardening.
  • Keep yourself away from grass when the pollen counts are high.
  • Do not keep flowers inside your home.
  • Drive your car with windows closed during high pollen count days.
  • Use a dehumidifier to prevent mold.
  • Wash your pet properly when they come indoors on high pollen count days or clean their fur with a damp cloth.
  • Regularly splash cool water on your eyes to soothe them and clear them of pollen.
  • Take shower and change your clothes when you return home from outside, especially during high pollen count days.
  • Use a good vacuum cleaner.

These are the causes and effective ways for the prevention of allergic rhinitis. Try using them to prevent allergic reactions and risks of anaphylaxis in extreme cases. Remember to stay away from allergens and triggers to prevent allergy rhinitis.

In case you see major allergic reactions, rush to the doctor’s clinic immediately and get medical help.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.