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Rhinitis

Otolaryngology

Rhinitis can be divided into allergic rhinitis (commonly known as allergic rhinitis) and non-allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is the most common form of rhinitis. According to a study conducted by the University of Hong Kong on allergic rhinitis in children, the incidence rate of rhinitis among Hong Kong school children is as high as 60%. [1]

Symptoms

People with allergic rhinitis usually experience the following symptoms:

  • Nasal mucus
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes

The symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis are very similar to those of allergic rhinitis.

Causes and risk factors

The main difference between allergic and non-allergic rhinitis lies in the causes:

  • Allergic rhinitis is mainly related to allergic reactions caused by allergens. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, pet dander and moulds.
  • Non-allergic rhinitis is not related to allergens and has a wide range of causes, including bacterial or viral infections, hormonal imbalances, etc.

Individuals at high risk for allergic rhinitis include:

  • People with a family history of allergic rhinitis are more likely to develop allergic rhinitis.
  • Other allergic diseases, such as asthma or atopic dermatitis, may also increase the risk of developing allergic rhinitis.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of rhinitis requires a thorough understanding of the patient's medical history and symptoms. Common diagnostic methods include:

  • Nasal endoscopy to examine the structure of the nasal cavity.
  • Allergen testing to determine if the patient is allergic to certain substances to determine if the patient has allergic or non-allergic rhinitis.

Treatment

Treatment for allergic rhinitis broadly includes:

Daily life habits
  • Regular nasal rinsing with saline can wash away allergens and relieve allergic rhinitis.
Medications
  • Antihistamines: have the effect of reducing allergic reactions in the body
  • Nasal Spray: contains vasoconstrictor, can relieve nasal congestion with short-term use, but should not be used for a long period of time
  • Steroid nasal spray: effectively inhibits inflammation of the nasal mucosa and can relieve symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion and sneezing.
  • Other oral medications, such as leukotriene receptor blockers, can help control allergic rhinitis and will be prescribed by the doctor depending on the patient's condition.


 

Allergen immunotherapy (desensitisation)
  • Reduce the patient's immune system response to specific allergens.
  • Gradually increase the exposure to specific allergens to increase the patient's tolerance to the allergens and reduce the allergic symptoms caused by the allergens, usually over several years.
  • Allergen vaccines are prepared by doctors based on the results of allergy tests.

Impact

Rhinitis not only affects the patient's quality of life, it can also lead to a series of complications, such as sinusitis and otitis media.

Preventive screening

For allergic rhinitis, prevention mainly involves:

Avoid allergens
  • Keep your home environment and air clean
  • Avoid keeping pets
  • Stay away from irritants such as perfume and smoke as much as possible.
  • Avoid going out during pollen season
Healthy lifestyle
  • Maintain a good routine, including sleep, diet and exercise, to strengthen your immune system.

 

For high-risk individuals, regular allergen testing and nasal check-ups are recommended for early detection and treatment of rhinitis.

Frequently Asked Questions

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are very similar to those of a cold. However, a cold usually recovers within a week and is less likely to cause itching of the nose and eyes. Allergic rhinitis usually lasts for more than two to three weeks and causes persistent itching of the nose and eyes, especially after exposure to allergens.
Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial, depending on the duration of symptoms. In seasonal allergic rhinitis, the allergens are usually related to pollen or plant seeds, and the symptoms are particularly severe during pollen seasons such as spring and autumn. Perennial allergic rhinitis is commonly associated with dust mites, pet dander and molds.

References

  1. Rhinitis - PMC from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7119310/
  2. Student Health Service, Department of Health - 「鼻」無可避? from https://www.studenthealth.gov.hk/tc_chi/health/health_ophp/health_ophp_nos.html
  3. Allergic rhinitis - NHS from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergic-rhinitis/
  4. Non- allergic rhinitis - NHS from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/non-allergic-rhinitis/
  5. Allergic rhinitis - self-care: Medline Plus from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000547.htm
  6. Hay Fever I Rhinitis Symptoms, Diagnosis, Management & Treatment - AAAAI from https://www.aaaai.org/Conditions-Treatments/Allergies/Hay-Fever-Rhinitis

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