Allergic rhinitis occurs when any substance called allergen entering the nose, causes inflammation of the inside layer of the nose. These allergens are present in the environment and are otherwise harmless. The allergens which are responsible for allergic rhinitis are pollens, dust, mold, or flakes of skin from any animal. Pollen is the most common seasonal allergy causing allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis is of two types one that occurs seasonally due to specific seasonal allergens like pollen grains is called seasonal allergic rhinitis while the allergic reaction that goes on throughout the year is called perennial allergic rhinitis.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis vary from person to person and start immediately after coming in contact with an allergen.

  1. Cold-like symptoms are most common like sneezing, itching, blocked, or runny nose.
  2. Other symptoms include coughing, itchy eyes, sore throat, watery eyes, dark circles, hives, fatigue, and headaches.
  3. Eczema-like symptoms can also be seen in some patients like dry or itchy skin with blisters and weep.
  4. Some people suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis due to seasonal allergens like pollen grains.
  5. The majority of the population has mild symptoms and is easily curable. Very few suffer from severe allergic rhinitis and can experience sleep disturbances.
  6. Some of the risk factors that can cause allergic rhinitis include cigarette smoke, chemicals, cold temperatures, humidity, wind, air pollution, hairspray, perfumes, colognes, wood smoke, and fumes.

Treatment

  • Exercise

Adequate daily exercise deadens the effect of allergens on the body hence reducing allergic reactions in the body but the mechanism is not known. Allergic patients should either do 150 minutes of aerobic physical exercise or 75 minutes of anaerobic or fast intensity workout per week. The activities or exercises include walking, running, treadmill workout, and swimming.

A study including allergic participants concluded that the patients who were indulged in winter exercises had reduced symptoms of allergy with improved breathing. Reduction in inflammatory markers was also seen in patients after 60 days of exercise.

  • Nasal irrigation

Nasal irrigation is the term used for rinsing nose with saline solution and is a good home remedy for people as it opens the blocked nose. A saline solution is made and used in a squeezing bottle so that it can easily rinse the nose [3]. Only distilled or boiled water should be used as tap water or contaminated water is associated with amoebic infections in the nose.

It is important to clean the bottle after use to avoid infection and the patient should wait at least for1 hour after nasal irrigation before going to bed as it cleans the nasal chamber and prevents coughing.

Nasal wash or irrigation should be performed daily to relieve nasal symptoms. Young children are often subjected to nasal irrigation when they suffer from severe respiratory disorder.

  • Vitamin D

A person who suffers from vitamin D deficiency mostly experiences allergic rhinitis as vitamin D regulates the chemicals responsible for allergic reactions in the body. Many studies conducted on allergic patients concluded that vitamin D supplements reduce inflammation and allergic rhinitis. 

Taking vitamin D as per the doctor’s prescription is important as excessive vitamin D increases the calcium blood levels that can lead to the formation of stones in the kidney and calcium deposition in the heart.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a practice that was developed in china as a healing practice over 5000 years ago. 

In this healing therapy, needles are introduced in the skin gently at meridian points to stimulate them. It is a complementary therapy in patients along with anti-allergic medications. Acupuncture is a safe procedure hence there are no side effects.

  • Butterbur

Petalites hybrids is a herb called butterbur which is found in northern Asia, Europe, and parts of North America. The extracts of this plant are used as a medication to treat allergic rhinitis symptoms like headache, cough, blocked or itchy nose, and asthma.

Butterbur capsules and tablets are made from the extracts from roots and leaves of the plants and are taken for 2-4 four days to treat allergic symptoms. 

Butterbur capsules or tablets should be taken as per the physician’s advice as it can cause indigestion, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, and cancer due to the presence of toxin called pyrrolizidine alkaloids. It should also be avoided in pregnant or lactating women, children, and kidney or liver disease patients.

  • Quercetin

Quercetin is an antioxidant which is used as a supplement in allergic rhinitis treatment as it decreases the inflammatory cells and proteins in the body on exposure to an allergen. It is found in fruits like apples, berries, red grapes, red onions, capers, and black tea as a dietary source.

Quercetin supplements should be consumed as per doctor’s guidance as high doses can lead to kidney damage and should be avoided in kidney patients, breastfeeding and pregnant women.

  • Omega-3

Essential fat omega- is found in various types of food items and is used in allergic rhinitis as it decreases inflammatory mediators or markers production after coming in contact with allergens. The various food sources include Flaxseed oil, walnuts, and fish oil capsules.

Omega- 3 supplements should be consumed as per the doctor’s prescription as they can cause indigestion and fishy aftertaste. It is fish oil and can lead to thinning of blood and it can be severe in patients taking anticoagulants like heparin and warfarin.

  • Stinging nettle

Utica dioic also called stinging nettle is a herb used to reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It can be taken in the form of tea and extracts are used to make various supplements to treat any kind of allergic reaction.

Stinging nettle is a diuretic agent and should be taken as per the doctor’s advice if the patient is hypertensive or has kidney problems.

  • Probiotics and Probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria that are found in the gastrointestinal tract and maintain GUT flora hence helps in digestion and immune response. Prebiotics are digestible oligosaccharides responsible for growth or probiotic or good bacteria and when used in infants or even adults, it is responsible for modulation of an immune response.

Probiotics are available as supplements, drinks, kefir, yogurt, and capsules while fermented food is rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics are also consumed by patients as tablets, capsules, and chewable products. Probiotics do not have any type of side effects hence safer in use but should not be used by people who are allergic to dairy products.

  •  Black cumin seed oil

Nigella sativa or black cumin oil contains an active chemical compound called thymoquinone which is said to have an anti-inflammatory effect and can be used as a remedy to cure the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It is available as capsules and bulk oil and can be consumed as a supplement by allergic patients. It can be rubbed on the skin, inhaled, or applied to the nose as drops. Black cumin oil does not have any adverse effect or reaction but can cause skin reactions in certain cases.

Other Herbs used in allergic rhinitis treatment include Perilla, Sea Buckthorn, Ginger, and Yarrow.