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Allergic Rhinitis Causes

Top 4 Common Causes Of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, commonly called as hay fever, is a condition that produces cold-like symptoms due to the inflammation of the inside of the nose. Unlike cold that is caused by a virus, allergic rhinitis is caused by exposure to an allergen. After being exposed to an allergen, a person with hay fever has symptoms like runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy, watery, red eyes, continuous sneeze, cough, itchiness in the nose, the roof of the mouth or throat, and fatigue.

    The human body has an immune system that protects it against various invaders by producing special proteins called antibodies; in case of allergic reactions, a specific substance is identified as an invader. When an individual is oversensitive to an allergen, the immune system reacts by producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
    However, allergic reactions don’t occur the first time you get exposed to the allergen. The immune system will recognize and memorize the allergen on its first encounter. The next time the allergen comes in contact with your nose or throat, the antibodies will detect it and produce more IgE and other chemicals which cause inflammation of the inside of the nose, and secretion of excess mucus. This leads to a blocked or a runny nose and sneeze.

The allergen causing hay fever differs from person to person. Some of the common airborne allergens are described below.

Dust mites

  • These are tiny, microscopic bugs that are commonly present in the house dust.
  • Dust mites eat the skin cells shed by people, thrive in humid, warm environments, and thus live in upholstered furniture, bedding, and carpets.
  • House dust also contains feces and decaying bodies of the bugs which can trigger allergic reactions.
  • Some people allergic to dust mite can also have symptoms of asthma like wheezing and difficulty breathing.
  • Individuals who have a family history of allergies or who are exposed to high levels of dust mites in early life are at increased risk of developing the allergy.


Pollen

  • This is one of the most common causes of allergies. Pollen is a fine powder produced by flowers, grasses, trees, and weeds which is mainly used for the reproductive purpose.
  • When this powder reaches one’s nose, it triggers an adverse immune response.
  • Some individuals have pollen allergies throughout the year, while others have them during specific times of the year.
  • There are various plant species whose pollen causes allergic reactions. Some of the common pollen allergens are - birch pollen, oak pollen, grass pollen, and ragweed pollen.


Pets

  • Some people are allergic to the proteins found in an animal's skin cells, dead flakes of the skin (dander) shed by a pet, its saliva, or urine.
  • Although pet allergies are often associated with cats and dogs, any animal with fur can cause pet allergy.
  • A few people allergic to pets can also have symptoms of asthma like wheezing and difficulty breathing.
  • Dander, saliva, urine, and fur of cats and dogs easily stick to bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets, and clothing, and remain in these items for long periods.
  • The allergens from rodents like gerbils, hamsters, mice, and guinea pigs are present in their dander, saliva, hair, urine, sawdust or litter in the bottom of cages. The allergens from rabbits are present in hair, dander, and saliva.


Latex

  • This is a product of rubber tree which can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
  • Certain proteins present in natural rubber latex can cause rashes, itchy skin, or anaphylaxis (a life-threatening condition in which leads to swelling of the throat and severe difficulty breathing).
  • Usually, people have this allergy when they frequently touch latex-containing products, like latex gloves, balloons, and condoms.
  • However, synthetic latex products like latex paint, are unlikely to cause a reaction.


Individuals who are often exposed to wood dust and flour dust, for instance, those who work in a furniture store or bakery, are also likely to develop allergic rhinitis.

There is no ‘permanent fix’ for allergic rhinitis, so it is recommended to avoid the exposure of these allergens. Moreover, always have over-the-counter medications in store to relieve the symptoms in case of mild allergies.

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