Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever) is an allergic response to specific allergens, it could be caused by pollen, dust, grass or mold. Symptoms can also occur when you eat foods that you are allergic to.
Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects up to one in five people at some point in their life and is said to triple by 2030.
The number of hay fever sufferers could reach 30 million within 20 years as city living, pollution and climate change exacerbate symptoms, experts have warned.
(Source: The Telegraph)
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a common condition that shows signs and symptoms similar to a cold with sneezing, congestion, runny nose and sinus pressures.
Let’s hear it from the Expert
The following are stated by Dr. Michael Loubser (Immunology, Asthma & Allergy specialist at Infinity Health Clinic, Dubai, UAE)
“Dust mite, dead cockroaches, mold, and pollen are the main elements that ignite an inhalant allergic reaction. In the UAE, more than 90% of people with inhalant allergies are reacting to dust mite.
Arab households could be prone to this phenomenon. However, it is hard to apply these phenomena to the UAE, because of the mixed population make-up.
We have experienced the introduction of thousands of new plants and trees that were never seen in the UAE until a decade ago. We see that a lot of people react more severely in the pollen-periods, which are between March-April and August-October.
Meanwhile, a lot of people complain of increased allergic reactions during sandstorms, which every now and then keeps people with inhalant allergies inside for days. Although sand in itself does not ignite allergic reactions, the sudden upsweep of sand and dust in the air does cause allergic reactions.
Another contributor to the circulation of dust is the air conditioner. It is not the air conditioner itself. It is the fact that many air conditioners are not properly maintained. Maintenance is very important, because allergens can easily be transported by this device.”
Understanding More About Hay Fever
Allergic rhinitis occurs when your immune system overreacts to particles in the air that you breathe. Your immune system attacks the particles in your body, causing symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. The particles are called allergens, which simply means they can cause an allergic reaction.
People with allergies usually have symptoms for many years. You may have symptoms often during the year, or just at certain times. You also may get other problems such as sinusitis and ear infections as a result of your allergies.
Over time, allergens may begin to affect you less, and your symptoms may not be as severe as they had been.
To explain what happens during an allergic reaction, Dr. Hussain Hattawi (Consultant and Head of Immunology at Dubai Hospital) said that the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen such as pollen or dust mites as if it were harmful.
“If the immune system (the body’s natural defense against infection and illness) is oversensitive, it reacts to allergens by producing antibodies to ward off the harmful allergens. Over time, the body becomes sensitized to a specific allergen. So when antibodies detect an allergen, they release chemicals to fight the intrusion resulting in symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose,” he said.
Symptoms of hay fever mimic those of chronic colds. It may start at different times of year, it depends on what substance the patient is allergic to. If a person is allergic to a common pollen, then when the pollen count is higher his symptoms will be more severe.
Common hay fever symptoms include:
- You sneeze again and again, especially after you wake up in the morning.
- You have a runny nose and postnasal drip. The drainage from a runny nose caused by allergies is usually clear and thin. But it may become thicker and cloudy or yellowish if you get a nasal or sinus infection.
- Your eyes are red, watery, and itchy.
- Your ears, nose, and throat are itchy.
Severe hay fever symptoms may include:
- Loss of smell and taste
- Facial pain caused by blocked sinuses
- Itchiness spreads from the throat, to the nose and ears
Sometimes hay fever symptoms can lead to tiredness (fatigue), irritability, and insomnia.
What causes and triggers Hay fever / Allergic Rhinitis
You probably know that pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds cause allergic rhinitis. Things in the workplace or at home such as drinking water, artificial sweeteners, garlic, cereal, grain, sugar, perfumes, cleaning agents, wood dust, chemicals, dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, and mold can also cause allergic rhinitis.
Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. It contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses (small air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead) to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.
If you are allergic to pollen, you may have symptoms only at certain times of the year. If you are allergic to dust mites and indoor allergens, you may have symptoms all the time.
Causes may be due to bacterial or viral infections or simple allergy to any irritants inhaled, touched or ingested.
Tests and Diagnosis
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, take a medical history and possibly recommend one or both of the following tests:
- Skin prick test. You’re watched for an allergic reaction after small amounts of material that can trigger allergies are pricked into the skin of your arm or upper back. If you’re allergic, you develop a raised bump (hive) at the site of that allergen. Allergy specialists usually are best equipped to perform allergy skin tests.
- Allergy blood test. A blood sample is sent to a lab to measure your immune system’s response to a specific allergen. Also called the radioallergosorbent test (RAST), this test measures the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.
Medical Treatment for Hay Fever
There is a vast array of over-the-counter and prescription medications for treating hay fever symptoms. Some patients may find that a combination of two or three medications works much better than just one.
It is important for parents to remember that some hay fever medications are just for adults. If you are not sure, talk to a qualified pharmacist, or ask your doctor.
- Antihistamine sprays or tablets
These are commonly available over the counter. The medication stops the release of the chemical histamine. They usually effectively relieve symptoms of runny nose, itching and sneezing. However, if your nose is blocked they don’t work. Newer antihistamines are less likely to cause drowsiness than older ones – but older ones are just as effective.
- Eye Drops
These reduce itching and swelling in the eyes and are usually used alongside other medications. Eye drops containing cromoglycate are commonly used.
- Nasal Corticosteroids
These sprays treat the inflammation caused by hay fever, and are a safe and very effective long-term treatment. Most patients may have to wait about a week before experiencing any significant benefits. Some patients may notice an unpleasant smell or taste, and have nose irritation.
- Oral corticosteroids
For very severe hay fever symptoms the doctor may prescribe prednisone in pill form. They should be prescribed only for short-term use, because of their long-term link to cataracts, muscle weakness, and osteoporosis.
Another medical treatment is Immunotherapy (allergy shots) which is a proven treatment approach providing long-term relief for many people suffering from allergic rhinitis. It works by gradually desensitizing the patient’s immune system to the allergens that trigger their symptoms.
If your allergies bother you a lot and you cannot avoid the things you are allergic to, immunotherapy may help prevent or reduce your symptoms. To have this treatment, you first need to know what you are allergic to. However, immunotherapy can potentially lead to lasting remission of allergy symptoms, and it may play a preventive role in the development of asthma and new allergies.
One of the best things you can do is to avoid the things that cause your allergies. You may need to clean your house often to get rid of dust, animal dander, or molds. Or you may need to stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
“Decongestant nasal sprays should be avoided, especially in the long term, as they can cause rebound congestion and reduced efficacy over repeated use. Anti-histamines (to treat allergy) can be used, but one has to be aware of their potential side effects like drowsiness, weight gain and, in rare cases, heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat),” – Dr. Michael Loubser.
“To prevent mould spores, keep your home dry and well ventilated. To prevent dust mites, vacuum and dust interiors — with a damp, clean cloth — regularly. Cover upholstery, mattresses and pillows in allergy-resistant material. And, in general, avoid pets and all kinds of smoke-filled environments, including those with cigarette smoke,” – Dr. Michael Loubser.
Suffering From Allergic Rhinitis (A true story)
I am a 35 year old man, who was suffering from severe allergic rhinitis from as long as I can remember. For more than 12 years, I had lived with this debilitating illness that was overwhelming most of the time, causing loss of quality of life and consumption of huge amounts of drugs mostly provided little or no relief. My symptoms continued to persist and worsen more during fall season. I could barely sleep, was tired almost always, was forever sneezing, my eyes would constantly itch and my nose was forever runny. I had somehow even managed to earn the title of “Sneeze Bag” in my office. I could have sworn there were days, even months where I was reluctant to step out of my home to go to the groceries, a friend’s place, least of all to work.
Having reached my wits end with this illness, I had begun scavenging the net for any and every possible relief from this disease when I accidentally happened to stumble across NAET as a means of treatment. I immediately contacted a nearby clinic and booked in an appointment with the NAET practitioner, who explained that NAET works not just to suppress the symptoms but actually identifying and eliminating the root cause of the problem. I began treatment; after the first 5 Basics, I could sleep well and my sneezing had stopped. After 15 treatments, all my allergies had completely vanished without any medications. Now almost 1 year later, I am a healthy man living and loving my life….most of all, no more nicknames.
Allergic Rhinitis and NAET
Causes of allergic rhinitis can be tested by NTT (Nambudripad’s Testing Techniques) and treated very effectively with non-invasive holistic approach known as NAET. (Source: NAET Official Website)
Most people suffering from allergic rhinitis feel better in warm, sunny weather because cold, damp weather patterns frequently cause the patient to feel chills. As a result, most of them require more bedding and warmer clothing.
Many patients with pollen allergies will also be allergic to certain foods, as well as to other inhalants and contactants (any substance that might induce an allergy by coming in contact with the skin or a mucous membrane). Other than pollen and grasses, the most common items found to cause hay fever are: sugar, carob, corn, wheat, beans, pineapple, tomato, banana, perfume, furniture, cats, dogs, feathers, kapok, dust, plastics, rubber, and leather.
It is extremely important that hay-fever and rhinitis sufferers consult an appropriate allergist knowledgeable in NAET when their symptoms begin. These conditions have a tendency to become increasingly severe with each severe attack. Untreated patients are also likely to accumulate new allergens, as well as encounter increased sensitivity.
Allergic rhinitis may also be caused by other substances including house dust, chemical sprays, household cleaning chemicals, occupational dusts (such as flour, silica, cement and metallic dusts, industrial dust), chalk powder, marker-inks, coloring crayons, newspaper, copying paper, recycled paper, newspaper-ink, house-paint, water and oil-based paints, crude oil, formaldehyde, cosmetic agents, soaps, perfumes, and other chemical agents.
Prompt treatment of these allergies greatly decreases the likelihood that a comparatively mild allergic manifestation, such as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, will develop into a more severe allergy, such as asthma.
NAET evaluation may reveal energy interference in the lung, stomach, spleen, and large intestine meridians. Allergic rhinitis can be eliminated in most cases, when the allergens are identified, and desensitized through NAET.
Chronic Allergic Rhinitis Successfully Eliminated by NAET
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