Living with Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is inflammation in the nasal membranes caused by allergens such as pollen, dust, mould spores or animal dander. Symptoms usually start soon after being exposed to the allergen and can be quite irritating.1

  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, may happen for a few months at a time usually when trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air (allergens).1
  • Perennial allergic rhinitis happens throughout the year and may feel like a permanent daily allergy.1

Common Problems Caused by Allergic Rhinitis2

  • Blocked or runny nose → difficulty sleeping, daytime drowsiness, irritability, difficulty concentrating
  • May worsen asthma condition → affects your daily activities
  • Complications of allergic rhinitis: 

However, not all rhinitis is caused by allergic reactions. Some cases are the result of viral infections such as2:

  • The common cold
  • Influenza A, B or C
  • Other viral respiratory tract infections such as H1N1, Covid-19, SARS

Do You Know The Difference Between Coronavirus (Covid-19)  And Allergic Rhinitis?3

Diagnostic Test for Allergic Rhinitis

There are a few tests available in clinics which can help someone identify allergens in which to avoid4-6:

  • Most common: skin prick test by placing potential allergens on the skin to test for an allergic reaction (a bump)
  • Radioallergosorbent test (RAST) measures the amount of antibodies produced in the blood after exposure to specific allergens

Mainstay Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis

The following are medications that are commonly prescribed for Allergic Rhinitis.7-9  Some of these medications may be prescribed together as they may work synergistically to counter allergy symptoms. However, each has its specific side effects to look out for. Therefore, be sure to talk to a pharmacist before taking these medications.

  • Oral antihistamines to be taken at first sign of allergies
    Stops your body from making histamine that causes the allergy symptoms
  • Oral or nasal decongestants
    Relieve congestion in the nose and sinuses
  • Intranasal antihistamine sprays
    Relieves nasal allergic and inflammatory symptoms
  • Intranasal corticosteroid sprays
    Daily use to prevent inflammation upon exposure to allergen
  • Medicated eye drops
    Relieve itchiness and allergy symptoms in eyes
  • Intranasal antihistamine + Intranasal corticosteroid spray
    Helps to relieve both nasal and ocular (eye) allergic rhinitis symptoms

Advanced Treatments

While living with allergic rhinitis may seem endless, one may outgrow the allergy if your immune system becomes less sensitive to the allergen. Alternatively, you could talk to an ENT specialist about allergy desensitisation treatment (immunotherapy) that helps your body build up a tolerance against the allergen that bothers you.6

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a simple, quick and effective solution, don’t hesitate to speak to your Caring Pharmacist about a management plan to tackle allergic rhinitis and the wide variety of treatment options available.

References:

  1. Overview: Allergic Rhinitis. NHS UK. (Web accessed November 2021). Web link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergic-rhinitis/#:~:text=Allergic%20rhinitis%20is%20inflammation%20of,5%20people%20in%20the%20UK 
  2. Allergic Rhinitis. Medscape. (Web accessed November 2021) Web link: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/134825-overview 
  3. COVID-19 (New Coronavirus), Asthma and Allergies. AAFA.org. (Web accessed December 2021) weblink: https://www.aafa.org/asthma/asthma-triggers/other-health-conditions/respiratory-infections/covid-19-new-coronavirus.aspx
  4. Allergy skin tests. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). (Web accessed November 2021) Web link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/allergy-tests/about/pac-20392895
  5. Allergic Rhinitis. Healthline. (Web accessed November 2021) Web link: https://www.healthline.com/health/allergic-rhinitis 
  6. Allergic rhinitis. MedlinePlus. (Web accessed November 2021) Web link: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000813.htm
  7. Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever). Cleveland Clinic. (Web accessed November 2021) Web link: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8622-allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever
  8. Dymista. MIMS Malaysia. (Web accessed November 2021) Web link: https://www.mims.com/malaysia/drug/info/dymista?type=full
  9. Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis. DK Sur and S Scandale (2010). Am Fam Physician

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