Medically speaking , allergic rhinitis is just hay fever – a number of allergies with the same allergic reaction, often visible as itchiness, inflammations in the eyes and nasal passages. Some reactions can be severe, but on the whole, allergic rhinitis is more an annoyance to an otherwise normal life than anything.
The effect of allergic rhinitis on the psychology of the individual is more serious, rather than the medical condition. Studies show that suffering regularly from allergic reactions bring about a loss of sleep, feelings of inadequacy and depression, even somatization. And the treatment for allergic rhinitis is really simple, especially in the light of these effects.
An allergy is an allergy, and there is no medical way around it. However, the problem with allergic rhinitis is not the allergy in itself – one can live with the allergies. The allergic reactions are what causes the psychological problems, and when the treatment concentrates on the allergic reactions, the psychological problems decrease.
Using intranasal corticosteroids have proven to be very effective against allergic rhinitis. The problem with corticosteroids is that it may take some time before the nasal spray takes effect, so the treatment may span several weeks. Another drawback is that after the treatment, the amount of time one is immune to the allergies is also brief, and then there is the risk of using steroids for long periods of time.
Antihistamines block the the effects of histamine, which are often runny noses and watery eyes. Unfortunately, most antihistamines also produce the side effect of drowsiness – one thing that you should be aware of when considering the treatment. But with regards to treating the effects of allergic rhinitis, antihistamines ad the consequence of sleeping off the medication while the allergens are present, providing rest instead of staying in the environment. Also, antihistamines work best when taken before the allergens become present – perfect for seasonal rhinitis.
Other Treatments for Allergic Rhinitis
Many other treatments are available for allergic rhinitis. In fact, Teva Pharmaceutical is expecting approval from the FDA for its new nasal spray after completing the required double blind study by the FDA. As a last resort, allergen immunotherapy is also prescribed, but the allergy shots are for extreme circumstances.
Alternative medicines also have cures for allergic rhinitis. Curiously enough, there is some documentation on the effectiveness of acupuncture for rhinitis, though the evidence is poor. Some herbal remedies have also proven effective, such as the use of butterbur. However, medically speaking, in spite of the promising results of butterbur, the alternative is not prescribed – it may conflict or react with medication already prescribed to the patient.
But the whole point is that there is a host of treatments for allergic rhinitis, and the goal is not curing the allergies, but the allergic reaction. The psychological effects of rhinitis is what is at stake, and not the allergic reaction, so as long as there are treatments to choose from, one is relatively safe from the psychological effects of watering eyes and runny nose at the most inopportune moments.