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Allergic Rhinitis

Homeopathic Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever

The reduction of the symptoms of the allergy is the goal of treatment and the best way to bring about that is to avoid exposure to allergens. It may be impossible to completely avoid environmental allergens, but exposure may - at least - be minimized in most cases.

Allopathic treatment consists of drug therapies (such as antihistaminics, decongestants and nasal corticosteroid sprays) which are used to control mild to moderate symptoms. Medicines are prescribed based on the type of allergic rhinitis. Perennial allergic rhinitis may require daily medication and if you have seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever), you may be advised to start medicines - and continue it - a few weeks before the pollen season.

  • Anti-inflammatory agents : to prevent severe allergic rhinitis; examples include nasal corticosteroid (steroid) sprays, leukotriene antagonists (namely, zafirlukast and montelukast), and nasal cromolyn.
  • Antihistamines : to relieve sneezing and itching; may prevent nasal congestion before an allergic attack; available by prescription or over-the-counter.
  • Decongestants : tablets and sprays will help relieve a stuffy, blocked nose with catarrh, but can cause rebound blocking and should be used for short periods only.
    • Oral decongestants : commonly contain the active ingredient pseudoephedrine; side effects, such as nervousness, drowsiness, blood pressure changes, are more likely with oral than nasal decongestants.
    • Nasal decongestants : applied directly into the nasal passages with a spray, gel, drops, or vapor; available as long-lasting (6 to 12 hours) or short acting; work faster than oral decongestants and with fewer side effects. With extended use, nasal decongestants can cause the nasal passages to swell, and this can begin a cycle of dependency.
  • Desensitization immunotherapy, when available, might be considered in severe house dust mite allergic rhinitis. However, it is less effective than grass pollen desensitization.

One must be aware that over-the-counter nasal sprays and drops may be addictive and should be used sparingly. Medications containing steroids will damage the nasal mucous membrane!

How Homeopathy Works in Allergic Rhinitis

The homeopathic treatment of allergic rhinitis offers better results. Many such allergies can be healed permanently, though it may take more than a couple of seasons before it is completely wiped out.

Homeopathic remedies for allergic rhinitis have been well documented in scientific research. A study by Taylor et al, published in the British Medical Journal in 2000 showed statistically significant improvement in objectively measured nasal air flow for patients treated with homeopathy.

Allergic rhinitis involves over-responsiveness of the immune system, and is therefore not limited to a local problem with the nose, but is a systemic issue. Homoeopathic treatment of allergies is best carried out by an experienced homeopathic doctor who is also academically sound.

As with any other medical condition, homeopathic medicines are not used to treat diseases but to treat patients; any successful, long term, treatment will likely require a complete medical history, evaluation and determination of the particular "constitutional" medicine, suited for the patient, and provided by a doctor specialized in homeopathic treatment and cure.

The objective of taking treatment is to provide comfort. Homeopathy provides it without any side effects. The homeopathic approach is a natural way to help the body by stimulating the body's own process of healing.

It involves the use of extremely diluted substances to heal the body through the release of vital energy. The rule in homeopathy is "like treats like". Homeopathic medicines will stimulate the natural healing processes and heal the allergy. Thus, it helps the patients to live in their own circumstances and environment.

There are 180 homoeopathic medicines which give great relief in allergic rhinitis or hay fever. However, the correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgment on the part of the homeopathic doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus, homeopathic medicines of allergic rhinitis or hay fever are designer made unlike allopathy in which all patients receive the same anti allergic medicines, antibiotics, steroids and so on, although trade names may be different.

What is Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever and its Causes

Do you find yourself having a runny, itchy nose, watery eyes and severe sneezing episodes? If so, you may be suffering from allergic rhinitis or hay fever and you are also among the estimated 25% of the Indians affected by one or the other form of allergies. Pollen seems to be the main cause. The other main causative factor in this region is the paddy threshing dust. In rural areas, this is a very common trigger.

Commonly called hay fever, pollen allergies are among the most common chronic conditions. The most common producers of allergic pollen include weeds, grasses and trees. These dry pollen are disseminated by the wind and trigger allergic symptoms. Common symptoms include sneezing, congestion, a running nose, and itchiness in the nose, roof of mouth, throat, eyes and ears.

Allergic rhinitis has another type too. The perennial type occurs all throug the year and is not affected by the time of the year. Dust mites, animal dander and mold spores are usually the main causes. Early morning sneezing attacks are quite typical of dust mite allergies.

An allergy refers to an abnormal reaction to certain substances called allergens. Just as the country's defence forces are trained to identify the enemy and attack it, our immune system identifies the body's enemies like bacteria, viruses and so on and eliminates them. The country's forces never attack our civilians; similarly, our immune system ignores useful substances like food and drugs and useless or harmless substances like pollen grains, dust and animal dander. However, if the immune system goes awry and reacts to such useful or harmless substances, then the person is said to have developed an allergy. Such substances, called allergens, may be inhaled, swallowed or may come in contact with the skin.

Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever

Allergic rhinitis can cause many symptoms, including the following :

  • Stuffy, running nose; discharge is generally thin and clear.
  • Sneezing.
  • Post nasal drip.
  • Red, itchy and watery eyes.
  • Swollen eyelids.
  • Itchy mouth, throat, ears and face.
  • Sore throat (called pharyngitis).
  • Dry cough.
  • feelings of fullness and buzzing in the ears (called tinnitus).
  • Headaches.
  • Partial loss of the senses of hearing, smell and taste.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dark circles under the eyes.

What are the Risk Factors of Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever
  • Family history.
  • Having other allergies, such as food allergies or eczema.
  • Exposure to second hand cigarette smoke.
Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever

Your family and personal history of allergy is important in diagnosing allergic rhinitis. Questions you may be asked include the following : Do symptoms vary according to the time of day or the season? Do you have a pet or are you exposed to one? Have you made changes to your diet? Are you on any medication?

Allergy testing may reveal specific allergen(s). Skin testing is the most common method of allergy testing.

A radioallergosorbent test, or RAST, is usually used to check your blood for elevated levels of the antibodies produced by your immune system to guard against specific allergens.

In children, observing behavior is helpful in diagnosis. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis may cause a child to wiggle the nose and push the nose upward with the palm of the hand to clear obstruction.

Home Remedies and Prevention in Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever
  • During the peak allergic weather, use a facemask when outside your house.
  • Keeping windows closed to prevent pollen and molds from drifting into your house.
  • Air-conditioning can also help reduce your pollen exposure.
  • Avoid working with compost, raking leaves or walking through uncut fields.
  • Minimize your early morning activity (between 5 to 10 am) when pollen counts are higher.
  • Clean mouldy surfaces. Mold is often found in ACs, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, swamp collars and refrigerator drip pans.
  • Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50% using ACs and dehumidifiers.
  • Fix water leaks and clean up water damage.
  • Put windows in or otherwise ventilate kitchens, bathrooms and crawl spaces; vent laundry dryers to the outside.
  • Put flooring in crawl spaces.
  • Avoid carpets and upholstered furniture.
  • Wash bedding every week in hot water.
  • Keep stuffed toys out of the bedroom.
  • Encase pillows and beds with allergen-proof covers.
  • Many people with allergic rhinitis or hay fever are also allergic to certain foods and may experience symptoms as a result of eating allergy-triggering substances in such foods as eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, chocolate, dairy products, wheat, citrus fruits, or food colorings or preservatives. To determine whether food allergies might be at the root of, or perhaps compounding, your allergic rhinitis or hay fever problems, try an elimination diet. Stop eating all the suspected foods, including those mentioned above, as well as prepackaged or prepared foods, for 10 days. If your symptoms disappear or diminish, reintroduce one food at a time and see whether your symptoms recur. If they do, eliminate the offending food and all its by-products from your daily diet.

Homemade Decongestant for Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever

Make your own decongestant by boiling grapefruit, orange, or lemon peels, including the pith, in water mixed with honey until the peels are spongy, stirring occasionally.

Be careful not to overcook - you do not want candied fruit. Eat one piece when symptoms start and one piece each evening at bedtime, during the hay fever season.

Substances in the peel and white rind act as anti-inflammatory agents and will help dry the mucus membranes.

Lemon is considered a stimulant expectorant, that may help release mucus from your lungs.

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