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Dr. Santosh Yadav (M.D.)
Consultant Homeopath
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Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever
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 also you are among the estimated 25% of the Indians affected by one or the other form of allergies. Pollens seems to be the main cause. The other main causative factor in this region is the paddy threshing dust. In rural areas this is 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 pollens are disseminated by the wind and trigger allergic symptoms. Common symptoms include sneezing, congestion, a ruuny nose, and itchiness in the nose, roof of mouth, throat, eyes and ears.

Allergic rhinitis has another type too. The perennial type occurs all throughout 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 into conntact with skin.
Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever 
Allergic rhinitis can cause many symptoms, including the following :
Stuffy, runny nose; discharge is generally thin and clear.
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).
Partial loss of the senses of hearing, smell and taste.
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 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 taking any medications?

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 againts 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 facemask while moving outdoors.
Keeping windows closed to prevent pollens and molds from driffting into your home.
Airconditioning 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 AC, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, swamp collers, and refrigerator drip pans.
Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50% using AC 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 uphostered 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.
Homeopathic Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever
Reducing allergy symptoms is the goal of treatment, and the best way to do this is to avoid exposure to allergens. Complete avoidance of environmental allergens may be impossible, but exposure may be minimized in many cases.

In allopathy, drug therapies (such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal corticosteroid sprays) are used to control mild to moderate symptoms. Medication is recommended 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 medication 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.
Be aware that over-the-counter nasal sprays and drops may be addictive and should be used sparingly. Medications containing
How Homeopathy Works in Allergic Rhinitis
Homeopathic treatment of allergic rhinitis offers a better promise. Many such allergies can be treated permanently, though it may take more than couple of seasons before it is completely wiped out.

Homeopathy remedies of allergic rhinitis have been well documentated 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 a system issue. Homoeopathic treatment of allergies is best carried out by an experienced and homeopathy 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 supporting 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 not shut allergy by improving immunity. Thus it helps the patients to live in their circumstances and environment.

There are many 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 homeopathy doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus homeopathy 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 name may be different.
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