Untreated allergic rhinitis can lead to serious problems

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Untreated allergic rhinitis can lead to serious problems

Complications can significantly impair quality of your life, if left untreated. It

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 25 Jan 2014, 10:45 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:56 PM

Some patients visit doctors suffering from symptoms of common cold that last for more than two weeks. Almost every day they sneeze particularly during the morning. Many of them opt for some over-the-counter pills in order to recover from the sneezing and nasal irritation.

Some patients admit that they don’t get any relief from the common cold and sneezing after taking OTC medicines, and the symptoms continue for more than two weeks, explained Dr Sreekumar Sreedharan, Specialist Physician at Aster Union Medical Centre, Karama.

The common cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract which primarily affects the nose. The symptoms of common cold, including coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, or even fever, usually resolve in seven to 10 days, with some symptoms lasting up to three weeks.

If the common cold symptoms last for more than two weeks, it is allergic rhinitis, or inflammation of the nasal membranes. In normal cases, viral infections cause cold and related illnesses that may remain up to a week or so on. But, when the allergy superimposes on common cold, it leads to a persistent issue.

Most of the patients with this condition might have developed symptoms of the allergic rhinitis before the age of 20. They might be experiencing sneezing, running nose or watering from the nose, nasal congestion, and itching of the nose, eyes, ears and palate. These are the normal signs of having the allergic rhinitis.

Most of these patients may also experience symptoms like headache, earache, red eyes, tearing, postnasal drip, and impaired smell perception. This is a systemic inflammatory process, which is associated with other complications including asthma, rhino sinusitis and conjunctivitis.

Even if the condition is not life-threatening, complications can significantly impair quality of your life, if left untreated. It generally leads to acute or chronic sinusitis, apnea or sleep disturbance, and dental problems - mainly overbite, which is caused by excessive breathing through the mouth. The untreated allergic rhinitis can lead to serious complications and damage the patient’s ear, with infection in the middle-ear and the Eustachian tube dysfunction. It can also be associated with a number of other conditions, mainly asthma.

Smoking tobacco increases the risk of respiratory infection by approximately 50 per cent. Exposure to infected contacts, like touching the nose with contaminated fingers, also increases the risk of this infection. Crowding is another reason that leads to increased transmission of the infection.

The extremely common condition affects approximately 20 per cent of the world population, with higher prevalence in industrialised nations. The incidences of allergic rhinitis are higher among the people living in this part of the world.


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