Allergic rhinitis (AR) happens when the body overreacts to an allergen, causing inflammation around the nose area. An allergen is something that causes an allergic reaction. This can cause symptoms such as runny nose, blocked nose, red, itchy, swelling around the eyes or sneezing.
AR can be classified as either intermittent or persistent AR. Intermittent AR happens irregularly over time whereas persistent AR happens regularly for a long time. Persistent AR can be caused by allergens such as dust mites that are present all year long.
What you can do
To prevent AR from happening, you should try to avoid the allergen that causes your symptoms. Examples of allergens include dust, pollen and animal fur. If you wish to identify the allergen that causes your AR, you need to see a doctor to do further tests.
You can prevent allergic rhinitis by
- Reducing the humidity at home to reduce mold growth. You can do this by setting your humidifiers on lower settings or airing your bathrooms.
- Washing your bed sheets and linen often in hot water to remove dust mites. If you have carpets, you can consider treating them with pesticides to reduce dust mites.
- Removing any mold you see with bleach or disinfectant
- Using High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to remove pollen, mold and spores from your environment
- Washing your hair and changing your clothes immediately once you return home
- Avoid owning pets if possible. If you have a pet, washing them once a week might help your condition.
When to see a doctor
You should feel better in 3-4 days after using medicines bought over the counter or from a pharmacist. However, you should see a doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- No improvement in your symptoms or if they become worse
- Fever more than 39⁰C
- Mucus that is thick, yellow or green in color
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- Bad ear pain
Updated in Nov 2018
This article does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist. People with special health needs such as babies, children below 12 year old, elderly and pregnant ladies should see a doctor instead of self-treatment. Always read the instructions and warnings on the package before taking any medicine.