Allergic Rhinitis symptoms and causes. Best Home remedies and natural treatment. Triggers of Allergic Reaction and suitable medications
Allergic rhinitis, or more commonly known as hay fever, is a type of allergic reaction that happens when the immune system overreacts to something in your environment. In the case of hay fever, the allergic reaction is caused by triggers in the air, most commonly pollen.
Hay fever is a very common condition. It is estimated that almost 6.5% of US adults suffer from symptoms of allergic rhinitis every spring and fall. Apart from being a bother, nasal allergies can also interfere with your daily activities and impact your social and professional life.
Sadly, there is no known cure for allergic rhinitis. However, there are several traditional and home remedies you can try to alleviate some of the symptoms and not allow this pesky condition to control your life.
How Many Types of Allergic Rhinitis Are There?
There are two forms of hay fever:
- Seasonal that exhibits symptoms in the spring, summer, or early fall and is caused by pollen and mold.
- Perennial that lasts the whole year and is most commonly caused by dust mites, cockroaches, or mold.
What Are the Symptoms of Hay Fever?
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Red and itchy eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy nose or throat
- Trouble sleeping
The symptoms of pollen allergies are quite similar to those of a common cold, and it can be quite easy to confuse the two.
How Do You Know if You Have Hay Fever or a Cold?
First of all, colds are caused by viruses and can easily be transferred from one person to another through sneezing or coughing. What’s more, cold symptoms start to appear one to three days after you are exposed to the virus and tend to last around a week.
Hay fever, on the other hand, is an allergic reaction caused by something in the air and cannot be transferred to another person. A reaction takes place immediately after coming into contact with the material that triggers symptoms and lasts for as long as you are exposed to the allergens. Also, allergic rhinitis is not usually accompanied by a sore throat and fever, unlike the common cold.
However, the surest way to tell if you are allergic to pollen or simply have the sniffles is from your nasal discharge. If it is watery and thin, you have allergies. But if it is a thicker, yellowish discharge, then it’s time to take some cold medicine.
What Causes Hay Fever?
Allergies are caused when your immune system mistakes a common substance as something harmful. Allergic rhinitis is triggered when you breathe pollen into your airways, i.e. mouth, nose, throat, or lungs.
People who have other allergies, asthma, or eczema are more at risk of developing an allergic reaction to pollen than others. Furthermore, the chances of having hay fever increase if a blood relative also has allergies or asthma, or if you live or work in an environment where you are regularly exposed to allergens.
What Can Trigger an Allergic Reaction?
The most common trigger for hay fever is pollen. Pollens are small particles or fine powder that come from plants. Pollen from specific types of trees, grass, or weeds is more likely to cause an allergic reaction than other types of plants.
Symptoms of this type of allergic reaction tend to appear when pollen counts in the air are high, which usually takes place in late March or September, depending on where you live. Typically, if a plant is located further north, it will pollinate later in the season.
Other substances that can cause nasal allergies to flare up are dust mites or mold. These triggers are usually associated with perennial allergic rhinitis.
Sometimes, hay fever can be brought on by certain irritants like cigarette smoke, perfume, or diesel exhaust.
What Are Some of the Complications from Allergic Rhinitis?
Apart from stopping you from living your life to the fullest, allergies to pollen can also lead to low quality sleep, sinusitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and in some rare cases – an ear infection.
Can Your Hay Fever Get Worse?
Because allergic rhinitis causes inflammation in the lining of the nose, other irritants can actually make your symptoms even worse. These include strong smells, changes in humidity and temperature, tobacco and wood smoke, and aerosol sprays.
Treatment and Medication of Allergic Rhinitis
The best way to treat symptoms of pollen allergies is to avoid all substances that can trigger a reaction. As this is not always the easiest thing to do, there are medications that offer relief.
The most common treatments for hay fever include nasal corticosteroids, antihistamines, and decongestants.
But why should you pop pills when there are plenty of natural remedies you can try?
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, which means it is great for alleviating some of the symptoms of allergies. It is especially effective in treating runny or stuffy noses, one of the more common signs of nasal allergies.
Vitamin C also strengthens your immune system and thus helps you fight symptoms faster and more easily. Luckily, there are plenty of fruits like oranges, lemons, and kiwi that abound in vitamin C, as well as some vegetables, such as broccoli and peppers.
Experts suggest that consuming honey, which contains pollen, before the start of the hay fever season can help desensitise the body and increase immunity to that allergen. However, to achieve the best result, you should stick to local honey, which is made from the foliage in your area and contains the pollen causing your allergy.
Spicy food contains a compound called capsaicin that gives hot peppers and Dijon mustard its heat. This component is also great for hay fever as it can reduce congestion in the nose and offer immediate relief from symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Not everyone is a fan of spicy food, but if you can bear eating it, it can work wonders for your nasal allergies.
Eating garlic can give your immune system a boost and help you treat more than just allergies. Also, garlic contains quercetin, a natural antihistamine proven to ease symptoms of seasonal allergies.
Quercetin is also found in onions, apples, and berries, so give these a try if garlic is not your thing.
Some herbal teas like chamomile, nettle, and licorice contain antioxidants and antihistamines, both of which can help when your allergies act up.
Chamomile is also known for its anti-inflammatory effects and can be used as an eye compress to cool red, swollen, or itchy eyes, which are some of the most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Put a thin layer of Vaseline inside the nostrils to trap pollen and considerably reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis. This simple trick has thousands of hay fever sufferers calling Vaseline a “miracle cure” for pollen allergies.
Acupuncture uses needles to alleviate pain in specific parts of the body or help with other health conditions. With hay fever, acupuncture can ease some of the symptoms like a runny nose or itchy eyes.
To Sum Up
Allergic rhinitis may not be a life-threatening condition, but it can still cause plenty of discomfort and inconvenience. No one wants to suffer from watery eyes and a runny nose every time flowers bloom or avoid nature hikes on sunny spring days because of high pollen count.
So do yourself a favour. The next time your hay fever acts up, try some simple home remedies and be surprised at how they can work wonders.