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Nasal Allergies: When Should You Worry?




Nasal allergies or allergic rhinitis is a common condition in both adults and children. Your quality of life is greatly reduced due to allergic rhinitis and it can take a significant toll on an individual due to constant sneezing, tearing, itching and difficulty breathing due to nasal congestion. Many people with nsal allergies find it difficult to sleep well. In some cases, one may also suffer recurrent dizziness and headaches.

Did you know that nasal allergies can be treated and well managed? Nasal allergies may also lead to sinus problems, like sinus infections. An experienced ENT physician will help you to regain control of your nasal allergy.

How to identify if I have a nasal allergy?

If you have any of the following symptoms, then you might have allergic rhinitis.

  • A runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose
  • Feeling of phlegm or mucus inside your nose and throat
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Watery and itchy eyescan
  • Light-headedness and frequent headaches
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Nosebleeds
  • Hives
  • Eczema

When exposed to allergens, you may experience one or more symptoms. Longterm exposure can cause fatigue and headaches. Symptoms can be persistent all year round or occur when exposed to large quantities of the allergen. If the symptoms do not settle after a week or so, then it is advisable to consult an otolaryngologist.

What causes allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis occurs when your body is exposed to allergens. It could be pollen, grass, house dust mites or animal fur. When one comes into contact with these allergens, it causes the body to release histamine, which is a natural chemical helping the body to defend against allergens. Histamine release leads to the allergy-related symptoms of sneezing, itchy nose with watery eyes, runny nose and blocked nose.

Many people seem to get used to the chronic nasal congestion and sinus problems, without realising the impact these allergies have made to their lives. People forget what it was like before developing these allergies and wrongly assume that it is “normal” to have a blocked runny nose. To relieve a flare up of symptoms, many generally grab over the counter medications. A recommended allergy specialist like Dr. Annabelle Leong at the ENT Clinic in Singapore can help you with a long- lasting treatment plan and relieve you of nasal allergy symptoms.

What are the risk factors of  nasal allergy?

Allergies can affect both young and old, but individuals who have a family history of allergies have a higher chance of developing the condition. Atopic eczema and asthma can increase the risk. Other external triggers could be long term exposure to air pollution, cigarette smoke, chemicals, smoke from burning plastics and wood, perfumes and weather changes including cold and windy conditions.

How is nasal allergy diagnosed?

Your ENT doctor will take your medical history and do a physical examination. In addition, allergy testing may be performed. A skin prick test is the most common while an allergy blood test for allergy-related antibodies to various allergens may be undertaken by your ENT doctor.

What can I do to prevent nasal allergies?

Keeping your home free from allergens can help. Use of an air purifier instead of opening the windows will help to filter allergens. Keeping fabrics and curtains clean and vacuuming carpets will be useful at reducing the number of allergens at home. A dehumidifier can also help with excessive moist conditions to reduce the growth of moulds at home. Washing your pillows and bedlinen in hot water at 60 degrees and drying them in direct sunlight can help to reduce the presence of house dust mites, the most common trigger for nasal allergies and allergic rhinitis in Singapore.

Can over the counter medications help allergic rhinitis?

Mild allergic rhinitis can be treated by using over the counter medicines. Nasal sprays help in reducing the inflammation caused in the nasal passages. Antihistamines can also help in relieving sneezing and itching. Decongestants are also available as over the counter medications. These medicines help if you only have mild symptoms once in a while.

What are the prescription treatments for allergic rhinitis?

If you are suffering from persistent symptoms which are not responding to over the counter medications, then prescription treatment is needed.

Doctor-prescribed nasal steroid sprays can help to relieve congestion, itchiness and sneezing. It is safe with very minimal absorption into the body and is effective since it is directly applied on the affected area. Prescription antihistamines and decongestants also help in relieving symptoms and controlling the condition. Desensitisation treatment in the form of sublingual immunotherapy may also be suitable for those suffering from severe house dust mite allergies, where a small amount of the allergen in the form of a tablet or spray is applied daily under your tongue to gradually and safely build immunity towards the allergen. This usually takes 3-5 years to achieve and is quite successful for house dust mite allergy.

What are the self-help steps for allergic rhinitis?

Apart from medications, a simple but very effective method to help relieve symptoms includes nasal irrigation with a saline douche. This involves squirting sea-salt water with sodium bicarbonate into the nose to keep it clear of allergen buildup. It could also help in relieving sinus symptoms.

Cleansing the nasal passages with saltwater clears out allergens which trigger symptoms. A simple squeezy bottle, syringe or a neti-pot can be used. A warm shower and applying warm compress over the nose may also be helpful.

What complications can arise from nasal allergies?

If nasal allergies persist or become severe, complications may occur, such as frequent sinus infections, facial pain or headaches, worsening asthma with difficulty breathing and wheezing, and inability to sleep. Nasal allergies or allergic rhinitis can also lead a persistent drip of mucus flowing down your throat which can result in throat irritation, sore throat or even throat infections. Ear infections with buildup of fluid behind the eardrum and earache can also occur due to the congestion of the Eustachian pressure tubes which open up at the back of the nose. Eye infections with puffy red sore eyes, as a complication of allergic rhinitis may also be something to worry about.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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9 Simple Steps to Dealing with a Broken Tooth




Credit: freepik via Freepik

It’s movie night, and you have an obligatory bowlful of popcorn balancing on your lap. You toss a handful of popcorn and — crack — you unknowingly bite down on a kernel with the full power of your jaw. 

Lightning strikes your mouth as you realize this humble kernel broke your tooth. 

Now what? 

Besides pausing the movie and spitting out your mouthful of popcorn and tooth, you might not know your next steps. 

What should you do, and how can you pay for it? Find the answers to these questions and more below:

1. Save the Pieces 

If possible, save any broken pieces of the tooth. Your dentist might need these pieces.

2. Rinse Your Mouth 

Gently rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Avoid using hot or cold water, as it might aggravate any exposed nerves. 

3. Control Bleeding 

If you bleed, apply gentle pressure to the area with a clean cloth or gauze. You can also use a cold compress on your jaw or cheek to reduce swelling.

4. Contact Your Dentist

Reach out to your dentist immediately. Explain the situation and try to schedule an emergency appointment. Many dentists reserve slots for urgent cases. If they don’t have a spot available, look at specialty emergency clinics in your area.

5. Get Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

Broken and chipped teeth can hurt, so take some over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage this pain until you can see your dentist. 

6. Check Insurance Coverage

Review your dental insurance policy to understand coverage details. Some policies may cover emergency procedures, while others may have limitations.

7. Discuss Payment Options

If cost is a concern, discuss financing options with your dentist. Some dental offices offer flexible arrangements that give you a break. If you qualify for these plans, you might be able to push out your due date to coincide with your payday. You may even be able to break up your total outstanding amount over several payments. 

8. Take out a Personal Loan

If you’re just shy of what you need to cover your emergency dental expense, consider going online to scope out personal loans. A personal loan may fill in for savings in urgent situations. You can quickly visit a website like MoneyKey to see what you need to apply. If approved, a personal loan gives you the means to pay for your visit upfront and pay off what you owe over time. 

9. Consider Urgent Care Clinics

If your financial situation is such that you can’t afford a personal loan’s payments, reconsider your choice of dentist. Some dental practices apply a sliding scale to their services so that they can provide immediate care at a lower cost for at-risk individuals. 

Next Steps: Thinking About the Future

So, you’ve managed to repair your tooth and pay the bill, too. What’s next? Make sure you hit these three goals soon. They can help you prevent another broken tooth in the future!

  1. Stay on Top of Dental Hygiene: Brush at least twice a day and floss once a day — these simple habits can protect your teeth over time. 
  2. Schedule Regular Checkups: Keeping up with regular cleanings can also help you prevent future dental emergencies. 
  3. Build an Emergency Fund: Sometimes, accidents happen. Consider building an emergency fund specifically for unexpected dental emergencies.
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