Do you also experience increased sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and throat irritation during summer? If yes, you may be suffering from allergic rhinitis. This is a common condition that affects many people during the summer months. Also known as hay fever, it is an allergic reaction to airborne allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. If left untreated, allergic rhinitis can cause significant discomfort and affect the quality of life of those who suffer from it. Dr Diptarka Bhattacharyya, Ear, Nose, & Throat (ENT) Specialist/Otorhinolaryngologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, explains effective ways to manage allergic rhinitis during summer.
Causes of Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. When exposed to these allergens, the immune system produces antibodies that trigger the release of histamine and other chemicals in the body. These can trigger the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
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Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be quite bothersome and affect daily activities, which include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy nose and throat
- Watery eyes
- Swollen, red, or itchy eyes
Management of Allergic Rhinitis During Summer
The management of allergic rhinitis involves minimising exposure to allergens and reducing the severity of symptoms. Some effective management strategies for allergic rhinitis during summer include:
Avoiding Triggers: One of the best ways to manage allergic rhinitis is to avoid exposure to allergens. This may involve staying indoors when pollen counts are high, using air conditioning to filter the air, and avoiding outdoor activities during times when allergens are at their peak.
Practising Good Hygiene: Practising good hygiene can help to reduce the number of allergens in the environment. This may involve washing the bedding and clothes frequently, vacuuming regularly, and using air purifiers to filter the air.
Using Nasal Irrigation: Nasal irrigation involves flushing out the nasal passages with a saline solution. This can help to reduce nasal congestion and improve breathing.
Taking Medications: Several medications can be used to manage the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. These include antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal corticosteroids. Medical guidance and prescriptions are recommended before the use of any medications.
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Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis During Summer
In addition to management strategies, there are several treatments available for allergic rhinitis. These include:
- Allergen Immunotherapy: Allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, involves exposing the body to small amounts of allergens to desensitise the immune system over time.
- Sublingual Immunotherapy: Sublingual immunotherapy involves placing allergen extracts under the tongue to help desensitise the immune system.
- Anti-IgE Therapy: Anti-IgE therapy involves blocking the effects of IgE, an antibody involved in the allergic response.
Allergic rhinitis can be a significant source of discomfort during summer. However, by taking steps to manage the condition, symptoms can be reduced, and quality of life can be improved. By avoiding triggers, practising good hygiene, and taking medications as prescribed, those with allergic rhinitis can minimise the impact of this condition on their lives. Upon identifying symptoms of allergic rhinitis, it is crucial to seek medical help and advice.
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