Allergic rhinitis: What is its remedy?
According to the air quality index (AQI), Bangladesh has the most air pollution globally. Hence allergic rhinitis is one of the most alarming and common problems related to environmental pollution. Several foreign matters can act as a potential allergen from the dust of construction areas, humid weather, pollen, animal hair, exposure to hay by farmers, etc. So how do we know if we have allergic rhinitis?
The symptoms can start with nasal obstruction, coughing, bouts of sneezing perhaps at more frequency in the morning, nasal drip, irritation in the eyes, and anosmia (which may overlap with COVID symptoms as well).
It may hamper a person's outlook by producing a black transverse line over the nose. Such condition should not be left untreated because if done so, it can give rise to complications like asthma, ethmoidal polyp in older adults, sinusitis requiring surgical measures like functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) or polypectomy, in the long run, otitis media with effusion which is characterised by hearing impairment and tinnitus.
The causes are the important factors when it comes to prevention. Allergic rhinitis is type 1 hypersensitivity. There is a misconception that an allergic person is hypersensitive all year round. Some may have seasonal rhinitis instead of perennial (chronic). Furthermore, there is a hereditary factor at play here too. If both parents have allergic rhinitis, there is a 40% chance that their child may also have the condition, whereas a single affected parent can lower the possibility to 20%.
So the question is, is there any way that a person can prevent allergic rhinitis? The answer is yes, simply identifying what causes their allergy and avoiding that particular allergen.
For example, avoidance of dusting and mopping is the most suitable remedy. If a person is allergic to the pollen of the spring season, avoid hand pollination during gardening.
If a person is allergic to cats/dogs, avoid furry animals and birds. Some allergies can occur in a particular season, so it is best to be extra careful during that time frame.
Some occupations like that of a painter and hay worker are common examples where allergies might develop. However, if things go out of hand, one should opt for professional advice and visit the doctor for the best treatment.
To confirm allergic rhinitis, a skin examination called prick test is usually done, which is said to have a positive inference if a congested wheel appears within 10-15minutes. Furthermore, since it is an IgE (immunoglobulin) mediated response, a rise in IgE level in a blood test is suggestive of allergic rhinitis. Therefore, understanding its pathology is vital in terms of treatment basis.
From the perspective of Bangladesh, allergic rhinitis is a common detrimental condition. However, there are several remedies. By being careful and avoiding such allergen, one can protect themselves. As the old saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure."