Nasal Allergy

A survey concluded that about 25% of Hong Kong people suffer from allergic rhinitis . The main reason for nasal allergy is the inhalation of allergens that triggers an inflammatory reaction in the nasal cavity. The symptoms are very similar to common colds, such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and nasal itching, etc., and will last for a period of time. Many patients with sensitive noses also suffer from sensitive eyes, symptoms include itching, redness, watery eyes, swollen eyes, etc.

What is the cause of nasal allergy?

Allergic Rhinitis

Patients are sensitive to various environmental factors (eg, dust mites, pollen, mould). Allergic rhinitis reactions such as nasal membrane swelling, itching, sneezing, and runny nose are caused when patients inhale certain allergens. Patients also tend to suffer from sore throat, cough and phlegm due to nasal reflux.

Hong Kong is a common region with dust mite allergies, and dust mites are generally accumulated in furniture, sofas, pillows, cushions, carpets and curtains. Allergic reactions will occur within 20 minutes of exposure to dust mites for patients who suffer from allergic rhinitis.

Vasomotor Rhinitis

About half of the patients contracting nasal allergy are caused by vasomotor rhinitis. This may be a severe infection caused by a cold or flu, or a complication caused by extended allergic rhinitis. Vasomotor rhinitis is caused by swollen blood vessels that eventually forms a blockage, and patients sometimes have runny nose and sneezing symptoms, but compared with allergic rhinitis, sneezing is less frequent.

There are two main ways to diagnose nasal allergy:

  • Eosinophils:

    A small amount of cells are removed from the patient's nasal membrane to be observed under the microscope. If sensitive inflammatory cells "eosinophils" are found, allergic rhinitis is diagnosed

  • Nose Allergy Test:

    Skin test is a method of checking a patient's allergic reaction to certain allergens with the purpose of reducing the risk of exposure to allergens.

Nasal Allergy treatment

The first priority is to avoid any exposure to allergens. Some allergens can be avoided, such as animal dander from house pets and house dust mites. However, it is understandable that most patients would rather have their nasal allergy ongoing rather than giving up their pets.

Nasal Allergy Medication (Nasal Allergy Spray / Antihistamine)

The most effective and up-to-date drugs for the treatment of allergic rhinitis include nasal allergy spray, it is an anti-inflammatory medicine that you spray into your nose. However, steroid sprays are focused on the nasal cavity and can be used by patients when needed, the side effects is that nosebleeds will occur much more easily.

The second type of nasal allergy drugs are antihistamines. Histamine will trigger mucosa swelling, increased secretions, nasal congestion, itching and allergic reactions such as sneezing, hence, the use of Antihistamines can reduce the symptoms of itching, sneezing and runny nose.