Early mornings or even late mornings are never complete without a constant bout of ‘Achoos’ while getting up from bed, especially during Spring when flowers and plants bloom in full swing with pollens strewn around and flying high in the air. Many individuals start facing serious troubles with itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and congestion. Seasonal allergies start to take a toll on people’s health in the forthcoming months. Our own immune system that’s supposed to protect us acts as our enemy during such times!
Nasal Effects of Seasonal Allergies
An allergic reaction is the result of the body trying to wrongly protect itself from things that are not dangerous. Our immune system is designed to defend us from harmful bacteria and germs but during allergic reactions the immune system fights harmless materials (such as pollen and molds too). The immune system that’s been assigned to protect the body against foreign particles ends up being the source of all problems in this case.
Coughing or sneezing during certain times of the year indicates that you might suffer from seasonal allergies. Its not like you’ve got to bear it for life and an allergist can help you minimize the problem and move on peacefully with your activities any time of the year. There are different options available, but it is better to pick the right ones as some of the solutions can backfire when used inappropriately.
Nasal Steroids: These are available without a prescription and great to clear a runny nose but be cautious while using the spray ensuring to direct it away from the nasal septum as some people have suffered from nosebleeds while using the spray. If this happens in your case it is recommended to stop using the spray immediately and consult a physician. One large study that imparted children who did not attain puberty with nasal sprays daily for over 52 weeks found a slight reduction in the rate of growth. Talk to your physician about it.
Antihistamines: Antihistamines are yet another useful option to help with your allergy, but the knack is to use it early in the morning before symptoms appear. Be prepared to face side effects such as drowsiness sometimes and take precautious steps to deal with it (Such as avoid driving during those times).
Decongestants: Its typical to grab a decongestant to clear your symptoms of runny nose, congestion or watery eyes as this is the simplest and effective action possible without a prescription. While these work in seconds to clear your nose remember that they are effective only in the short term and one might face problems of increased congestion when used for a longer period. Doctors ask patients to refrain from using it for not more than 3 days continuously as the patient might become dependent on the spray. The more we use it, the more dependent we become, worse the symptoms become and more we use it again as these sprays cause a biochemical change in certain receptors of the cells.
Oral decongestants also do the job of reducing allergies, but they work by constricting blood vessels which can lead to side effects such as increased blood pressure and constricting blood vessels that can land the patient with severe side effects such as increased blood pressure, palpitations, headaches, nervousness and irritability. Hence, patients with a history of high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, stroke, glaucoma and certain other conditions must not use oral decongestants.
Alternative Therapies: Nasal saline irrigation work sometimes on some patients. The nasal passage is irrigated with prepared solutions that improves symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, watery eyes, itchy throat and sleep quality in children with acute sinusitis or allergic rhinitis. Ensure to use products that have been prepared with distilled water as using tap water can result in fatality rarely (due to presence of protozoans such as amoeba). A selected few rely on external applications such as Vicks (menthol ointment) to offer relief from congestion although there are no proofs backing this theory.
Common measures that help to minimize seasonal allergies include:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.