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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

Types of Ultrasound Tests and What to Expect During Treatment

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Anticipation is common in every woman’s pregnancy journey. You wonder whether your baby is healthy in your womb and what he or she will look like when he or she comes to the outside world. An ultrasound is the only chance you have of taking an early peek inside your womb to learn more about your unborn child. Apart from a glance at your child, an ultrasound in Lake Nona imaging test will also notify you of your child’s well-being and your expected due date. These experts use imaging tests to give you a detailed glimpse and real-time view of your baby and its development in your womb. 

What should you expect on your first ultrasound?

You might have your first ultrasound around seven or eight weeks of pregnancy. During the safe and painless test, your doctor will use high-frequency reflective sound waves to produce  an image of your unborn baby and your pelvic organs. The care provider will apply a special gel on your belly and move a transducer slowly to get images of your unborn baby. You are likely to feel mild discomfort from the transducer’s pressure, especially if you have a full bladder.   

Your gynecologist will request the imaging test to:

  • Confirm your pregnancy dating to ensure you have an accurate due date
  • See and hear your baby’s heartbeat
  • Check out for the possibility of more than one fetus.

Your gynecologist could also use an ultrasound to check for genetic problems or possible issues with your cervix or uterus. It will be quite difficult to know your baby’s sex on your initial ultrasound. Your doctor will therefore advise you to wait for gender revelation and other anatomic features in your next ultrasound, which could be around eighteen to twenty-two weeks into your pregnancy.

What are the types of ultrasounds you are likely to undergo?

A standard ultrasound will create a 2-D cross-sectional shot of your unborn baby. Your gynecologist might also request a 3-D or 4-D if he wants to get a clear photographic image of your baby. Though 3-D and 4-D might not be necessary, your doctor will prefer these imaging tests if he suspects your unborn child has a deformity. While an abnormality like a cleft palate will be hard to identify with 2-D imaging, your gynecologist will be able to see any possible deformities clearly with a 3-D or 4-D ultrasound.

Your care provider will do the prenatal ultrasound either transvaginally (inside your vagina) or transabdominally (over your belly). A transvaginal ultrasound will be more useful early in your pregnancy since it produces sharp images of your tiny fetus. For a transabdominal ultrasound, your doctor will request you to fill your bladder because a full bladder tends to tilt your uterus upward, moving your intestines out of the way for a clear view.

Your gynecologist will also be prompted to perform fetal echocardiography if he suspects your unborn could have a congenital heart defect. The ultrasound will capture your fetus’ heart in detail, enabling your doctor to check out the small heart’s functionality.

Contact your gynecologist today for an ultrasound to get an in-depth revelation of your unborn child.

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