Causes of Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic Rhinitis is caused by allergens that are inhaled into the nasal passages. When they come into contact with the nasal mucosal tissue, an allergic reaction occurs where the tissue gets inflamed and the production of mucus is increased. The most common causes of this are:
Dust mites: Dust mites thrive in those dust balls under your bed. They do particularly well in humid conditions and like to feed on all sorts of organic matter, including the minute flakes of skin which everyone sheds throughout the day.
Pollen: Spring and autumn are the prime seasons for plant reproduction. Plants bloom with flowers that contain pollen. Although some pollen is transferred by insects like bees, other is airborne. A simple gust of wind can send this pollen your way.
Mold: Mold and fungi thrive in humid environments and release their spores once matured. These spores can contaminate the air and trigger allergies.
Pet Dander: Dogs and cats shed ped dander. These are flakes of skin and saliva which when disturbed drift through the air and is breathed in causing an allergic reaction.
Foods: There are many foods such as nuts that can trigger allergies. Usually they do not form particles small enough to breathe in, but sometimes dust from these foods can make its way into the respiratory passages.
Environmental Pollutants and chemicals: Chemical compounds released into the air through industrial processes can trigger allergies, but most often the chemicals in the everyday products that we use are the ones that cause the reaction; chemicals and dyes in foods, perfumes, makeup, and household cleaners.
Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis
Identifying and avoiding the allergen is the best treatment. You can limit your exposure to many allergens by keeping your home and work area clean and free from dust. If avoiding the allergen proves impossible, then washing your nasal passages with a saline solution can prove effective. If you need to resort to drugs, antihistamines and inhaled corticosteroids are usually used to treat this condition.
Consequences of Allergic Rhinitis
Although there shouldn’t be any long term health issues as a result of allergic rhinitis, the condition can impact your day to day life significantly. Cognitive functions can suffer not only as a result of the symptoms, but also because of the side effects that medication such as antihistamines have. Drowsiness as a result of this medication can lower reaction time and even put you into danger if you drive or operate other machinery.