Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is characterized by inflammation of the nose from the inside due to an allergen, including dust, mold, pollen or animal dander. Allergic rhinitis produces symptoms similar to cold such as itchiness, sneezing and a runny or blocked nose. These symptoms begin soon after exposure to an allergen. Allergic rhinitis may be present in some people for a couple of months as they react to seasonal allergens including grass or tree pollen. However, in some persons it may be present all the year round. Allergic rhinitis may be present in around 10-30% of the total population globally. What is allergic rhinitis treatment?
Allergic Rhinitis Home Remedies
Avoid Contact to Allergens
If you are able to avoid or decrease your contact with allergic rhinitis causing allergens, then the symptoms of allergy may be reduced and you can manage them either without any medicine or with less medicine.
Exposure While Outdoors
- Remain indoors when pollen is at its peak, usually during early evening and midmorning and when the pollen is being blown around by wind.
- Don’t use window fans, which can attract molds and pollens inside the house.
- Wear sunglasses while outdoors so that the pollen does not get into your eyes.
- Wear a mask to reduce pollen (such as a 95 filter mask-NIOSH-rated) while you are raking leaves, mowing your lawn or gardening.
- Ingest appropriate medicines beforehand for allergic rhinitis treatment.
- Avoid handing clothing to dry outdoors as pollen may stick to sheets and towels.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes as it will irritate them, worsening your symptoms.
Exposure While Indoors
- Keep the windows of your house closed. Use air conditioner in your home and car. Make sure that the air conditioning unit is clean.
- Decrease dust mites exposure, particularly in the bedroom. You should use mite proof covers on comforters, pillows, duvets, box springs and mattresses. Your bedding should be washed frequently, especially with hot water (at least 140 degrees F).
- Mold exposure can be limited by reducing the humidity in your house and cleaning your kitchen, basement and bathrooms regularly. You should install a dehumidifier, particularly in the basement and other humid and damp areas and clean and empty it often. If there is visible mold, clean it using 5% bleach solution and mild detergent as suggested by an allergist.
- Floors should be cleaned using a damp mop or rag, instead of dry-sweeping or dusting.
- You should wash your hands after touching any pets. Moreover, you should change your clothes and wash them after visiting your friends who have pets.
- If you develop allergy symptoms due to a pet in the household, keep the pet out of your house as much as possible. If the animal must be kept inside, then keep it out of your bedroom, so that you could avoid exposure to animal dander while you are asleep.
- You should close the air ducts in your bedroom in case you have central or forced-air cooling or heating. You should replace carpets with tile, linoleum or hardwood. All of these materials can be easily kept free of dander.
Home and Lifestyle Remedies for Allergic Rhinitis Treatment
- Rinse or irrigate your nasal passages: You can utilize a squeeze bottle that is specially designed such as neti pot or bulb syringe to rinse your nasal passages. Referred to as nasal lavage, this home treatment can keep the irritants out of your nose. You can use it daily to treat allergic rhinitis. You should use water that’s sterile, boiled and cooled, distilled or filtered with a filter that has a pore size of one micron or smaller to prevent any infection. Also make sure to clean the neti pot or bulb syringe after every use with similar water; leave to air-dry.
- Blow your nose: Blow your nose gently and regularly to remove the irritants or mucus present in the nose.
- Use a humidifier: You can use a humidifier in your home or work area. Make sure that you clean the humidifier regularly according to the instructions of the manufacturer. Steam emanating from a hot shower can also be inhaled to aid in loosening the mucus present in your nose and clear the stuffiness of your head.
Allergic Rhinitis Medical Treatment
Allergy cannot be cured by medicine; however, it can relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. You should see your physician if your allergy symptoms don’t improve after 2 weeks of taking medicine.
Antihistamines block the action of histamine, a chemical which is released by the body on exposure to an allergen, thereby, constituting an effective allergic rhinitis treatment.
Antihistamine tablets can be bought over-the-counter from a pharmacist; however, antihistamine nasal sprays require prescription.
Antihistamines can lead to symptoms of drowsiness. Hence, if you are ingesting these tablets for the first time, notice their reaction before operating heavy machines or driving. Drowsiness can result especially if you drink alcohol while ingesting antihistamines.
If you have persistent or frequent symptoms of allergic rhinitis and you have nasal polyps or nasal blockage, your physician may recommend nasal drops or spray containing corticosteroids.
Swelling and inflammation is reduced by corticosteroids. They require long time to work in comparison to antihistamines; however, their effects remain for longer duration. Corticosteroids may cause rare side effects, but may include dryness and irritation in the nose and nosebleeds.
In case your symptoms are severe and you require quick relief, your physician may prescribe a course of tablets of corticosteroids for 5-10 days.
If you show no response to original treatment, your physician may suggest add-on treatments.
- They may increase the dose of corticosteroid nasal spray.
- They may recommend using a course (short-term) of decongestant nasal spray along with other medicine.
- They may recommend combining antihistamine tablets with decongestants or corticosteroid nasal sprays.
- They may suggest using nasal spray containing ipratropium, which helps in reducing excess nasal discharge.
- They may suggest using a medicine, which blocks the effects of leukotrienes, chemicals secreted during allergic reactions.
If there is no response to add-on medical treatments, your physician may refer you to a specialist (allergist) for further treatment.
Allergic Rhinitis in Young Children
In children allergic rhinitis, particularly occurs before age 10. If you see that your kid has symptoms similar to cold at the same time every year, then they suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Children have similar symptoms as adults. Children may also develop allergic conjunctivitis which is characterized by bloodshot, watery eyes. Symptoms of asthma such as shortness of breath or wheezing may also occur in children.
You should visit your physician if you think that your kid has allergies as it is imperative to get correct diagnosis and treatment.
In case your kid has seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms, limit their allergen exposure by letting them stay indoors when pollen is high. You should wash their sheets and clothes frequently and regularly vacuum your house. Multiple treatments are present to help the symptoms of your kid’s allergic rhinitis. However, side effects may occur from some medicines. Therefore, always discuss with your physician before giving your kid any OTC medicine for allergy.