Rhinital - Allergic Rhinitis

What is an allergic reaction?

Our immune system – including different types of white blood cells and non-cellular elements like antibodies – is on guard all the time and defends the body against all kinds of foreign substances encountering the body. In most cases we do not notice anything of what is going on within our body, however sometimes the immune system mistakes a usually harmless substance like pollen, animal dander or food as something serious and overreacts to these foreign substances (also called allergens). Accordingly, an allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction) is an inappropriate response of the immune system to a usually harmless substance.

The overreaction of the immune system follows a defined course of action which ends up in the release of chemical substances (e.g. histamine) causing the characteristic bodily symptoms of an allergic reaction.

A scheme of the development of an allergic reaction is presented on the right:

Different types of allergic disorders

Allergic rhinitis

Try to avoid catching colds

Allergic rhinitis (AR) is characterized by a symptomatic disorder of the nose induced after exposure to mainly airborne allergens. Allergic symptoms such as a runny nose with increased watery secretions, itching of the nose and sneezing attacks as well as ocular symptoms like reddening, tearing and itching of the eyes are very common and frequently occurring in patients suffering from allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis can be divided into intermittent / seasonal AR (e. g. hay fever / pollinosis) and persistent / non-seasonal / perennial AR (e.g. allergy against house dust mites).

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is mainly a disorder of infants, children and young adults. It is characterized by reddening, thickening, and scaling of the skin in patches, typically in the face, in the neck, in the crook of the elbow or behind the knee. The skin becomes extremely dry and this leads to itching. The cause of atopic dermatitis is not finally known, but a genetic component seems at least evident since it tends to run especially in families whose members have hay fever and / or asthma.

Food allergies

A food allergy is an allergic reaction to a particular food. The immune system of the body overreacts to the intake of usually harmless food. Food allergies are most common among children whose parents themselves suffer from allergies. Infants and young children with food allergies tend to be allergic to the most common allergic triggers (allergens) such as those in eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts and soybeans. Older children and adults tend to be allergic to nuts and seafood. Children may outgrow a food allergy. Thus, food allergies are less common among adults. However, if adults have food allergies, the allergies tend to persist throughout life.

Watch Out
Reactions to food do not necessarily have to be allergic reactions. Food intolerance for example differs from a food allergy because it does not involve the immune system. In food intolerances the reaction to the intake of certain food is caused by local factors within the digestive tract (e.g. an enzyme deficiency) which often results in digestive complaints. Some people for example lack an enzyme necessary for the digestion of milk sugar (lactose). If these people eat food which contains lactose, they will quickly develop gastrointestinal complaints like diarrhoea, flatulence etc.

Others

Chemicals and fragrances:
Various chemicals and fragrances in perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and detergents can irritate the skin and nasal passages and prompt allergic reactions.

Drugs:
A drug allergy occurs when the body's immune system responds to a component in a medication. Many reactions to medications are rather drug sensitivity reactions than true drug allergies. The difference is that the drug allergy involves the immune system whereas a sensitivity reaction does not. The most common drug allergies include antibiotics (e.g. penicillin).

Insect stings:
Some people show an allergic reaction after being stung by an insect (e.g. bees, wasps); the overreaction to the venom of the insect can lead in severe cases to a dangerous and immediate reaction which is also referred to as anaphylactic shock.

Latex:
Latex allergy is a reaction to certain proteins found in natural rubber latex, a product manufactured from a milky fluid that comes from the rubber tree. Latex is present in various things such as balloons, dish-washing gloves, baby bottle nipples etc. Latex allergy may cause allergic reactions ranging from mild symptoms such as local skin reactions, sneezing or a runny nose to anaphylaxis.

Allergic rhinitis – the most frequent allergic disease

Allergic diseases in general are a common and widespread global health problem. Allergic rhinitis – the most frequently occurring allergic disease – affects about 15–20 % of the population and its prevalence is ever increasing.

Today, more than 600 million of patients from all countries, all ethnic groups and all ages suffer from allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis (AR) can be classified by the duration of symptoms into intermittent / seasonal and persistent / non-seasonal / perennial AR:

  • Intermittent / seasonal AR (e.g. hay fever / pollinosis) Symptoms lasting less than four days a week or less than four weeks a year.
  • Persistent / non-seasonal / perennial AR (e.g. allergy against house dust mites) Symptoms lasting at least four days a week and at least four weeks a year.

Allergic rhinitis is a multifactorial disease, which means various factors – a genetic predisposition as well as environmental stimuli - influence the development and severity of the disease.

Triggers leading to the occurrence of typical allergic rhinitis symptoms are very often so-called aeroallogens. These are various airborne substances such as pollen or mold spores. Aeroallogens are usually classified into indoor, outdoor and occupational agents. In general, outdoor allergens constitute a greater risk for seasonal allergic rhinitis and indoor allergens for perennial allergic rhinitis.

Causes / triggers of allergic rhinitis (aeroallogens):

  • Indoor: house dust mites, animal dander, mold spores, etc.
  • Outdoor: pollen, mold spores, etc.
  • Occupational: flour dust, latex, cosmetics, etc.

Pollen are the most frequent cause of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis triggered by pollen is also commonly known as “hay fever”. Pollen can be divided, according to their most frequent occurrence during the year, into three groups:

  • Tree pollen (e.g. birch, oak, maple, hazel, cedar, olive, elm): typically present during spríng
  • Grass pollen (e.g. ryegrass, timothy): most prominent from late spring through autumn
  • Weed pollen (e.g. ragweed, mugwort, plantain, yellow dock): most prominent in the late summer and autumn

Symptoms

Symptoms at one glance

Allergic rhinitis is defined as an inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes induced after allergen exposure in sensitized persons.

It is characterized by a symptom complex that consists of any combination of the following:

  • Itching of nose
  • Runny nose (watery secretions)
  • Stuffy nose (nasal obstruction)
  • Sneezing
  • Swelling and reddening of nasal mucous membranes

The eyes can also be involved with ocular symptoms such as swelling and reddening of the whites of the eyes, increased tearing and itching of eyes.

Symptoms differ between seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis:

Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis

Local Syptoms

  • Nasal symptoms:
    • Runny nose (watery secretions)
    • Itching of nose
    • Sneezing
    • Swelling and reddening of nasal mucous membranes
    • Decreased sense of smell or even loss of smell
  • Ocular symptoms:
    • Conjunctival swelling and reddening
    • Tearing of eyes
    • Itching of eyes
  • General symptoms:
    • Loss of energy (fatigue)
    • Irritability
    • Decreased quality of life

Symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis

Local Syptoms

  • Frequently occurring:
    • Congested nose
    • Hyperplasia of nasal mucous membranes
    • Development of nasal polyps
  • Less frequently occurring:
    • Itching of nose
    • Sneezing
    • Swelling of auditory tube / Eustachian tube (impaired hearing, chronic ear infections in children)
    • Recurrent rhinosinusitis
  • General symptoms:
    • Loss of energy (fatigue)
    • Irritability
    • Decreased quality of life

Key benefits of Rhinital®:

  • Highly effective treatment for allergic rhinitis
    • Helps to prevent and relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms
    • Improves patient’s quality of life markedly
  • Excellent tolerability with virtually no side-effects
  • Safe and gentle without any restrictions like dizziness or sleepiness
  • Easy and convenient to take
  • Suitable for long-term treatment
  • Recommended for use in adults and children

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