People who suffer from nasal allergies may have mild or severe symptoms. These symptoms are nasal congestion, itchy or runny nose and sneezing. Seasonal nasal allergies can last for several months and if the symptoms are triggered by something indoors, they can last all through the year.
You can get nasal congestion when your immune system releases chemicals in response to an allergen. The blood vessels inside the nose swell. In turn, the lining of the nose becomes swollen and results in a stuffy nose or a nasal congestion. When the mucus membranes of the nose or throat get irritated, your body reacts by making you sneeze. An itchy nose is nothing but an uneasy feeling that makes you want to scratch your nose. A runny nose is caused by the discharge of mucus-like fluid from the nose.
If your parents have suffered from allergies, it is most likely that you will develop them as well. This is more probable if your mother had allergies. Even though you may be quite used to living with your allergies, you must not ignore them. They may get worse with time so try to remove the source of the allergy as much a possible and keep your hands clean at all times.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
As soon as you come in contact with the allergen, you will begin to notice problems with smell, itchy nose, mouth, eyes and throat, sneezing and teary eyes.
A little later, you may discover other symptoms like coughing, stuffy nose, clogged ears, sore throat, dark circles under the eyes, puffiness under the eyes, fatigue and irritability and headache.
The doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. You will be asked if your symptoms vary during different times of the day, different days of the week or at different times of the year. A test will be done to determine if you have allergies. The most common test that is done is a skin test. If your doctor decides that a skin test cannot be done in your case, then a blood test will be done to check the level of Immunoglobulin E. A complete WBC count will also reveal if you are suffering from allergies.
The best treatment is to avoid all the allergy triggers. Depending on the type and severity of your symptoms, your doctor will prescribe the right medicine for you. The medication also depends on your age and whether you are suffering from any other medical condition.
A nasal wash will help to remove mucus from the nose. A saline solution can be used. They are available in the market but you can also make one at home. You need one cup of warm water. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in it and a pinch of baking soda.
Antihistamines are usually used to treat allergies. The older ones have some disadvantages as they have been noticed to cause drowsiness and affect the learning skills of children but the newer ones are much better. They are taken orally. You can also purchase an antihistamine nasal spray.
Corticosteroids work best when taken on a regular basis. There are also corticosteroid sprays. They work well for children and adults and are completely safe.
Decongestants reduce nasal stuffiness. The decongestant spray should not be used for more than 3 days.
There are some other treatments available as well. Allergy shots are sometimes recommended.