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Nasal Allergies: When Should You Worry?

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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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Health

How to Help Your Child if You Think They Might Have Autism

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Do you suspect your child might have autism, but you’re not sure? While only a professional diagnosis can tell you for sure, there are many ways you can support your child while you get a diagnosis and create a plan. 

Here are some of the best ways to support a child you think might have autism. 

  1. Try a variety of therapies

While you’re in the process of getting a formal diagnosis, start trying different therapies with your child to see if anything resonates with your child. Every child with autism is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. There are several types of therapy you can try that are low-cost or free, including play therapy, speech therapy, floortime, ABA therapy, and more.

Although your child will need a formal Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis to get ABA therapy, it’s worth noting that once you have a diagnosis, you can get in-home therapy, which will make things easier on you and your child. Organizations like Golden Care Therapy in New Jersey will send an ABA therapist to your home to work with your child in their own environment. Getting in-home therapy will reduce the stress your child may feel from being in a new and unfamiliar place.

The more therapies you try, the better chance you have of getting a head start in supporting your child, whether or not they get diagnosed with autism. 

  1. Get your child some sensory toys

Kids with autism need to stim, which is just a fancy way of saying they need something to stimulate their senses in a way that allows them to mitigate and disburse the sensory overload they’re feeling. Without toys, kids will find ways to stim using just their bodies and their surroundings, but toys can be extremely helpful and less damaging depending on your child. 

Every child is different, so it might take a bit to find toys they like. However, you can find some excellent suggestions from The Aspie World on YouTube. Some toys spin, squish, make noise, or are a series of magnets that can be reshaped. If your child is already fixated on certain types of toys, try to find something that matches their existing interest. For example, if they like soft textures, find some plush toys with a velvety-smooth texture. Try all types of toys to see if they help your child.

  1. Seek a professional diagnosis

Getting a professional diagnosis is the best way you can support your child when you think they might have autism. Once you have a diagnosis, that opens the door to getting services that will help them immensely. Not just while they’re young, but it will help them in their adult life, too. For example, if your child moves out on their own, and they struggle with self-care and household chores, they’ll need a professional diagnosis to get in-home services from the state.

A professional diagnosis will tell you if your child is on the autism spectrum, or if they have a different disorder. Depending on the therapist you choose, they’ll likely be able to diagnose your child with any relevant comorbidities, which are common with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

  1. Learn about autism

Next to getting your child professionally diagnosed, learning about autism will help you support your child in many ways. There are many misconceptions about autism that can make it hard to spot the signs of autism. One of the best people to learn from is Tony Attwood. He’s considered the leading expert on Autism Spectrum Disorder and is extremely knowledgeable.

One of the most important things you can learn from Attwood is how to spot Autism in girls. For various reasons, it’s harder to spot autism in girls and some girls don’t get diagnosed until they’re in their 40s. Attwood gave an excellent talk about Asperger’s in girls back in 2015, and you’ll learn a lot from this speech.

Although Attwood’s speech focuses on Asperger’s, it is part of the autism spectrum. As a diagnosis, Asperger’s has been officially merged into the diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Support your child in every way you can

When you suspect your child might have autism, it’s important to support them in every way possible. While you’re seeking a professional diagnosis, start trying simple solutions, like play therapy and toys for stimming. See how they respond. Once you get a diagnosis, your child’s therapist will suggest next steps to help your child long-term.

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