The sun is out, and flowers are surely blooming, ushering memories and anticipation of summer activities you might have planned. For 1 in 5 people in South Africans, it’s the season that has doomed them to suffer from allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever.
Although you may not be able to cure allergic rhinitis, we have put together some information to help you better understand what it is and how you can ease the symptoms to make your spring experience a less miserable one.
What is allergic rhinitis?
If one whiff of the spring air results in a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, facial swelling or difficulty breathing you could be suffering from an allergic reaction known as allergic rhinitis aka hay fever.
This happens when you breathe in something that you are allergic to resulting in the inside of your nostrils becoming inflamed or swollen. The inflammation can cause your sinuses to become blocked and filled with a fluid which causes germs to grow, resulting in a headache or a release of a fluid that is either yellowish or green in colour.
Allergic rhinitis can trigger your sinuses which in turn can cause symptoms that range from mild to chronic. The triggers for allergic rhinitis are caused by allergens that can be found indoors or outdoors such as trees, pollen, mould, or animal dander.
You are likely to get it if your family has a history of atopy
Atopy is when you have a family history of people that have allergies or asthma. According to the Allergy Foundation, 20-30% of people in South Africa suffer from allergic rhinitis with as many as 40% of this group having asthma that is often undiagnosed.
Children have a higher chance of suffering from an allergy. The chances increase significantly if the child has other family members that have an allergy or asthma. Early detection of any allergies or reactions need to be dealt with seriously by consulting a doctor to find ways to treat it without aggravating the symptoms.
Are there ways to treat rhinitis?
There are ways in which you can keep the symptoms for allergic rhinitis under control. However, it is vital to consult a doctor to receive the right medication or measures to alleviate the irritation that you are experiencing. They will also be able to conduct tests to see what causes the triggers and how you could possibly avoid them where possible.
You could consider using a nasal spray to ease the congestion in your nose. This will differ if you have acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis and may require specific treatment. Remember to always consult a doctor before using certain medication.