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Allergic rhinitis

What is allergic rhinitis and why does it occur?

An allergy that affects the nose is called Allergic Rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis, also known as pollenosis or hay fever, is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways. It is a recurrent problem affecting nose. It is usually deep rooted and often hereditary in nature.

Our body has a defence system to fight disease and protect itself. This defence system is called the immune system. When harmful things such as germs (example: bacteria or viruses) enter your body, the immune system recognises them as enemy and attacks.

But sometimes the immune system gets confused about what is the enemy and what is not. It reacts to harmless things like dust, the hair of animals, the pollen from plants and trees and sometimes even certain food items. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis occur when one breathes in something that he/she is allergic to, like dust, smoke, dander or pollen. These factors are called allergens/ triggers.

Allergy can affect various parts of the body such as the skin, eyes and nose. It occurs when an allergen, such as pollen, dust or animal dander (particles of shed skin and hair) is inhaled by an individual with a sensitized immune system. In such individuals, the allergen triggers the production of the IgE, which binds to mast cells and basophils containing histamine.

IgE bound to mast cells are stimulated by pollen and dust, causing the release of inflammatory mediators such as histamine (and other chemicals). This usually causes sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages, and an increase in mucus production. Symptoms vary in severity between individuals. Very sensitive individuals can experience hives or other rashes. Particulate matter in polluted air, and chemicals such as chlorine and detergents, which can normally be tolerated, can greatly aggravate allergic rhinitis. The physician John Bostock first described hay fever in 1819 as a disease.

Pollen is usually invisible in the air, and is a potent stimulator of allergy. It lodges in the nasal lining tissues (mucus membranes) and other parts of the respiratory tract where it initiates the allergic response. Almost 30% of the population at some time suffers from allergic rhinitis. A person is programmed to be allergic by his/her genetic makeup and is destined to be allergic from birth. Approximately one in four people with allergic rhinitis also has bronchial asthma.

Hay fever is a misnomer. Hay is not a usual cause of this problem, and it does not cause fever. Early descriptions of sneezing, nasal congestion, and eye irritation while harvesting field hay promoted this popular term. Allergic rhinitis is the correct term used to describe this allergic reaction, and many different substances cause the allergic symptoms noted in hay fever. Rhinitis means "irritation of the nose" and is a derivative of rhino, meaning nose. Allergic rhinitis which occurs during a specific season is called "seasonal allergic rhinitis." When it occurs throughout the year, it is called "perennial allergic rhinitis." Rhino-sinusitis is the medical term that refers to inflammation of the nasal lining as well as the lining tissues of the sinuses. This term is sometime used because the two conditions frequently occur together.

What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

When an allergy affects your nose, you sneeze a lot, there is itching in the nose, eyes or throat, your nose gets runny and blocked and your eyes keep watering.

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, frequently include nasal congestion, a clear runny nose, sneezing, nose and eye itching, and excess tear production in the eyes. Postnasal dripping of clear mucus frequently causes a cough. Loss of the sense of smell is common, and loss of taste sense occurs occasionally. Nose bleeding may occur if the condition is severe. Eye itching, redness, and excess tears in the eyes frequently accompany the nasal symptoms. The eye symptoms are referred to as "allergic conjunctivitis" (inflammation of the whites of the eyes). These allergic symptoms often interfere with one's quality of life and overall health.

Allergic rhinitis can lead to other diseases such as sinusitis and bronchial asthma. Many people with allergies have difficulty with social and physical activities. For example, concentration is often difficult while experiencing allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis and Common cold: How to differentiate?

Allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens, where as a cold is caused by germs. Both these problems can make you sneeze, and make your nose run and feel blocked and itchy. But there are some signs that can help to tell the difference. It is probably allergic rhinitis if:

  • You don’t have fever and body ache.
  • The mucus in nose is clear and runny, not yellow or green or thick
  • Continuous sneezing attacks
  • Itching of nose, ear and throat
  • Watering of the eyes
  • Prevalence of these symptoms for a longer time than a typical cold.

How to control it?

It’s best to avoid the allergens/ triggers that cause allergic symptoms. While it may be impossible to completely avoid all the triggers, certainly steps can be taken to reduce the chances of getting rhinitis.

  • Avoid exposure to furry (hairy) animals. If you have a pet, keep it out of your bedroom.
  • If there are patches of mould (fungus) on any walls of your house, get rid of it by cleaning with a mild solution of bleach
  • Do not smoke, and do not allow smoking in your home.

Conventional treatment modalities

There are many different medicines available to treat allergic rhinitis. Antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, nasal sprays and various other treatment options are available for a person seeking allopathic intervention. While these are very effective in alleviating the immediate acute symptoms and attacks, they have to be continued in ever increasing doses the whole life time. They then have their own side effects and give rise to other disease complexes which need even more medications, leading to the person being spinning an intricate web around oneself.

Can Homoeopathy help you?

Please take Allergic Rhinitis seriously and treat it properly on time, or it could lead to nasal polyps, sinusitis, conjunctivitis and even worsening of asthma, since there is a strong association of asthma and allergic rhinitis (nasal allergy).

Homeopathy offers a very promising and an effective solution to this cold sensitivity leading to allergic rhinitis. Homeopathy can not only prevent acute attacks an exposure to the precipitating cause, but also has wonderful results in aborting attacks of cold if taken immediately when the symptoms start to appear.

Homeopathy is also very helpful in developing resistance against the diseases. It leads to gradual decline in the body’s sensitivity to cold. This is the most important aspect of treating allergic rhinitis and can be achieved only with Homeopathic treatment by an expert physician. It works for the best interests of the patient. It takes some time to be achieved, but it definitely happens for most of our patients and


  1. Rest
  2. Drink plenty of fluids (at least 10 glasses of water each day) as mucus flows freely in a well-hydrated body, thus helping avoid or recover from infection. Healthy, moist tissues are harder for a virus to infect than dry tissues. Also, this much intake of fluids will help replace the fluids lost through perspiration and runny nose and minimize nasal and chest congestion.
  3. Steam inhalations help to decongest the nose-block due to cold. Take it at least 3 times a day.
  4. Take warm water or salt water (1/2 tsp salt in 1 cup of water) gargles to soothen your throat.
  5. Take raw fruit and vegetable diet including garlic and onions, which help to reduce catarrh.
  6. Chicken soup is good for people suffering from cold.
  7. Lemon juice and Vitamin C in large doses may do some good in colds.
  8. Stop smoking and ingestion of alcohol.
  9. Do get fresh air - take a gentle walk as soon as you feel able to walk.


  1. Do not give aspirin to a child with fever, as it is likely to cause a neurological disorder known as Reye's syndrome. It has been linked to the use of aspirin in children aged 4 to 15 and usually occurs 1-3 days following a viral infection wherein the child becomes extremely tired, vomits heavily and may be agitated, delirious and/or confused. It can cause coma, brain damage and death.
  2. Avoid food such as dairy products like milk, paneer (cottage cheese), cheese, eggs and sugar.
  3. Avoid spicy food.
  4. Do not cook while you are having cold.
  5. Antibiotics should not be taken as they are of no use in a viral infection.