Allergic Rhinitis - English
Allergic rhinitis is the way doctors describe an allergy that affects the nose.
What happens when you have an allergy?
To understand this, you should know that your body has a defence system to fight disease and protect itself. Just like the army protects a country from enemies. In medical language, your body's defence system is called the immune system. When harmful things such as germs (bacteria or viruses) enter your body, the immune system recognises an "enemy" and attacks it.
But sometimes your immune system gets confused about what is an enemy and what is not. It reacts to harmless things like dust, the hair of animals, the pollen from plants and trees, and sometimes even certain food items.
An allergy can affect various parts of the body such as the skin, eyes and nose. If it affects your nose, you sneeze a lot, your nose itches and gets runny and blocked, and your eyes keep watering. These are called the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
These things that can cause allergic rhinitis are called allergens.
Allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens, whereas a cold is caused by germs. Both these problems can make you sneeze, and make your nose run and feel blocked and itchy. But there are some signs that can help to tell the difference. It is probably allergic rhinitis if:
- You do not have fever and body ache (ache in the muscles)
- The mucus in your nose is clear and runny, not yellow/green and thick
- You sneeze many times before the sneezing attack stops
- Your nose, ears and throat feel itchy
- Your eyes water a lot
- These problems stay longer than a typical cold.
Though allergic rhinitis does not threaten your life, it can certainly disrupt your life! It disturbs your sleep, your performance at school or work, and you feel and look miserable. How can you lead a normal active life if you are conscious about constantly sneezing and blowing your nose?
All that is bad enough, but also, if allergic rhinitis is not treated properly, there can be other problems, some of them more serious, like:
Many people have a habit of buying cough-and-cold syrups or even antibiotics on their own without taking medical advice. But the best thing you can do to tackle allergic rhinitis is to consult a doctor who will study your condition and then put you on the right treatment.
Usually to treat allergic rhinitis intranasal corticosteroids are given. These medicines treat the cause of the disease and therefore bring better relief. They are to be taken in a unique way as nasal sprays, which deliver the medicine directly to the site of the problem.
You should try to avoid getting exposed to allergens as much as possible.
Thanks to your nose, you have a sense of smell but your nose also has another very important function! It is literally the guardian of your body's respiratory system, the air tubes which carry air into your lungs. Your nose moistens and warms the air that you breathe in, and filters out a lot of pollution before the air enters your lungs.
If you frequently suffer from sneezing and a runny nose that itches and feels stuffy, it could be allergic rhinitis. Many people have this problem, but they think it is a bad cold which keeps coming back. Allergic rhinitis is not "just" a cold. It is a condition that makes you really miserable, and if it is not properly treated, it can lead to more serious problems.