Nasal allergy (allergic Rhinitis) is a common problem affecting large percentage of population if left untreated, can often become severe enough to interfere with your life and everyday activities
Common allergens include pollens, dust, dust mites, fungi, bacteria, insects, mold spores, and animal dander. There is strong genetic predisposition to allergic rhinitis. One parent with a history of allergic rhinitis has about a 30 percent chance of producing offspring with the disorder; the risk increases to 50 percent if both parents have a history of allergies.
In patients with nasal allergy, allergens (dust, mold, pollen, bacteria) enter through the nose. The allergens interact with cells inside the nose. The interaction in the nose causes discharge of a substance called histamine. Histamine causes sneezing, swelling, nasal congestion, and nasal discharge of mucus.
Signs and symptoms of a nasal allergy
The most common symptoms of a nasal allergy are: clear, watery nasal discharge, coughing, itching deep within the ear, itching, watering, and redness of the eyes, nasal itching, and nasal stuffiness with subsequent difficulty breathing and sneezing.
If an individual has nasal allergies, if not treated early, they are more likely to develop sinus infections and asthma.
Patients can be severely restricted in their daily activities, resulting in excessive time away from school or work.
The most important step in allergy treatment is avoiding the allergen. This may be possible for people with pet allergies. This technique is less practical for those who are sensitive to pollens and molds. However, if you are sensitive to pollen, you can reduce the number of pollen producing flowers and trees in or near your home.
If you are working in dusty places, use a surgical mask.
Oral antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, and occasionally systemic steroid like depot injection of methyl prednisolone or oral deflazacort.
Oral antihistamines are used for short-term allergic disease. They are very effective in controlling symptoms such as sneezing and nasal discharge.
Antihistamines generally don’t reduce nasal stuffiness. It is common to add a decongestant, such as pseudoephedrine, to an antihistamine.
Nasal steroid sprays, such as fluticasone and mometasone, are used for prolonged allergies. They control acute symptoms more effectively than antihistamines.
Side effects of Allergy medications
Many over-the-counter antihistamines cause drowsiness and decreased mental alertness. Decongestants can cause elevation of blood pressure, fast heart rate, and difficulty sleeping. Nasal steroids may cause nosebleeds and nasal crusting.
Immunotherapy involves giving gradually increasing doses of the substance (or allergen) to which the person is allergic. This works by making the immune system less sensitive to that substance, probably by causing production of a particular “blocking” antibody, which reduces the symptoms of allergy when the substance is encountered in the future. It is time consuming and expensive, not very effective in the long run.
Surgical treatment for Nasal allergy
Laser surgery is considered for patients with more severe symptoms and those got fed up using life long medications.
I use Co2 laser to shrink the trigger zone at the anterior end of the inferior turbinate and the whole turbinate itself. If the middle and superior turbinates are pale and polypoid,they are also laserised.
Small nasal polyps can also be vaporized.
This is a very simple procedure, done under local anesthetic.
This outpatient procedure takes about 15 minutes, not including prep time. Afterward, a patient stays in recovery for one hour before being discharged home.
The surgery is effective for 70-80%% of patients. It is an option for people with mainly nasal symptoms who haven’t responded to prescription medications.
Please note, Laser Surgery is not is a cure for your allergies, but it can make your life a lot better comfortable.