If you are allergic to dust, pollens or animal dander, you might end up sneezing the entire day, but is they are so severe then you need to see an allergist. Nasal allergy, also known as Allergic rhinitis, is a condition where you immune system attacks the substances in the air as you breathe in. The immune system then releases chemical called histamine which causes the nasal lining to swell and shows following symptoms:
• Congestion or runny nose
• Continuous sneezing that lasts a day
• Sinus Pressure
• Itchy eyes, nose, throat
TYPES OF NASAL ALLERGIES
The nasal allergies can be broadly classified as:
SEASONAL ALLERGIES : Also called as hay fever, it is caused by outdoor allergens like grass or pollens. The most common cause of allergic rhinitis in the US is ragweed. It starts pollinating end of August and continues till frost. End of spring, pollens emerge from grasses like orchard, blue grasses, timothy, etc. During spring, hay fever is common which is caused by pollens of trees like birch, oak, walnut, hickory, cottonwood, alder, etc.
PERENNIAL NASAL ALLERGIES: These indoor allergens exist all year round. These include dust, animal dander, certain foods, chemicals, etc. It is common during winter because there is no proper ventilation as the house remains shut most of the times. Mold spores can grow both indoors and outdoors. Farm areas are a breeding ground for outdoor molds and indoor plants, bathroom, damp areas for indoor molds.
TIPS TO REDUCE EXPOSURE TO ALLERGENS
• Wear a pollen mask while cleaning house or mowing your lawn.
• Change air filters of air conditioners and vacuum cleaners on a regular basis.
• Keep windows and door shut during pollen season.
• Ensure you remove pollen from the fur of the animals.
• Daily use saline nasal to cleanse your nose.
• Avoid cats, dogs, etc. into your bedroom and house. If you have a pet, ask ENT specialist to suggest ways to allow your pet to enjoy at same time being allergy free.
• Use cotton and synthetic materials against woolen.
• Keep prescribed antihistamines, nasal spray by your side.
We all spend more than 20 hours indoor every day, which can lead to allergies round the year. But you don’t have to live with your nasal allergy for life long. Consult an otolaryngologist or ENT specialist who will advice you how to minimize exposure to allergens, desensitize with allergy shots, and prescribe other medications like antihistamines, nasal decongestant sprays, steroid nasal spray, etc.