Do you or your children suffer from allergy and running noses?
My husband and my children do.
I remembered clearly how bad it was for them during the haze season a few year back. Most part of Malaysia, and I believe the entire island of Singapore was covered with thick haze due to smoke from open burning in Indonesia.
Back then, breathing was quite difficult for my kids and my husband because their noses were either blocked or running. Whenever the go out of the house, they have to put on a face mask.
Sneezing, coughing, runny nose and watery eyes, some people call it as “suffering from sinus”.
But from what I’ve read by Dr. Khoo Yoong Khean on the Malaysian Medical Gazette website, the proper term is actually known as allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is also commonly known as hay fever.
Fun fact: Hay fever is not caused by hay, a type of tall grass that has been cut and dried and used as animal food and it does not actually cause fever.
Understanding allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is caused by the nose and/or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergens, such as pollen, dust mite, moulds and animal hair.
What do you call allergic rhinitis in Malay?
In Bahasa Melayu, it is commonly known as “resdung“.
What are some of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
The following are 14 signs or symptoms of hay fever as per healthline.com/.
- a runny nose
- a stuffy nose
- an itchy nose
- a sore or scratchy throat
- itchy eyes
- watery eyes
- dark circles under the eyes
- frequent headaches
- eczema-type symptoms, such as having extremely dry, itchy skin that can blister and weep
- excessive fatigue
Common treatment for allergic rhinitis
What are the common treatment of allergic rhinitis?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the suggested treatment for allergy rhinitis are avoiding the allergen that triggers the symptoms and medication.
Many allergens that triggers the allergic reaction are airborne, therefore sometime it is impossible to avoid them entirely.
If avoiding all the allergens is not possible, the next treatment alternative is through medication. The following are some of the common medication for allergic rhinitis.
1) Intranasal corticosteroids – The single most effective drug class treatment for hay fever. It can significantly reduce nasal congestion, as well as sneezing, runny nose and itching.
The negative side effect of steroid nasal spray is when you administered too high of a dose. Some negative side effects are stinging or burning sensation in your nose, dryness of your nose, irritated throat and even nosebleed.
Above is a picture of Avamys nasal spray, a common steroid nose spray which you can purchase from local pharmacy.
Avamys contains the active ingredient fluticasone furoate, which belongs to the class of medications called corticosteroids.
2) Antihistamines – Used to counter the effects of histamine.
What are histamines?
They’re chemicals your immune system makes. Histamines act like bouncers at a club. They help your body get rid of something that’s bothering you, in this case, an allergy trigger, or “allergen.”https://www.webmd.com
Antihistamines are found in eye drops, nasal sprays and, most commonly, oral tablets and syrup.
Antihistamines are availale in pharmachy while others require prescription from a doctor.
Just like with any other medication, there are side effects if you take too much of it. Older antihistamine tend to cause drowsiness. Newer antihistamine has fewer side effect.
Some of the side effects of taking antihistamine are excessive dryness of the mouth, nose and eyes.
3) Decongestants – Used to relieve stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen nasal tissue.
Decongestants do not contain antihistamine therefore it does not of have the same side effect.
4) Saline nasal sprays – Saline nasal sprays will help to counteract dry nasal passages or thick nasal mucus. Some doctor will recommend using neti pots or saline rinse bottles to wash or douche the nasal passage.
5) Immunotherapy – For those that do not response well to the treatment mentioned above, a more drastic approach to relieve the symptoms of allergy rhinitis is through immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy can be either getting allergy shots or sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets.
Root cause of allergy rhinitis
What is the root cause of allergic rhinitis?
If you look at the common treatment above, it helps to relieve the symptoms of the allergy, however, it does not tackle the root cause.
According to John Hopkins Medicine:
Allergic reactions begin in your immune system. When a harmless substance such as dust, mold, or pollen is encountered by a person who is allergic to that substance, the immune system may over react by producing antibodies that “attack” the allergen.
I believe the keyword here is over react immune system.
Our body immune system is over reacting to simple allergen thinking that it is a harmful pathogen. Pathogen are a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease in our body.
If there is a way to calm down our immune system when exposed to allergen?
Wouldn’t that stop all the symptoms of allergic rhinitis from appearing in the first place?
I believe it would.
The good news is, there is a type of vitamins from Japan which can regulate our immune system. The vitamin is known as Shiruto, by BE International.
If you want to know in detailed what it is, you can check out my Shiruto review article on this blog.