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Pollen is in the air, allergies for me to bear [꽃가루 휘날리면 간질간질~ 괴로워]

Spring is a welcoming season when flowers bloom and outdoor activities increase. However, allergic rhinitis patients are becoming more and more afflicted as the causes of allergic reactions such as air pollution, pollen, and house dust mites have recently become worse.
Allergic rhinitis is one of the most common chronic diseases in both adults and children. The prevalence has steadily increased over the last 50 years, and 15-20% of Korea's population suffers from allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory disease in the nose, mainly with runny nose, sneezing, stuffy nose and itching. If a substance that causes allergic rhinitis (allergens: house dust mite, pollen, animal hair, dust, fungus, etc.) touches the nose, it stimulates blood vessels or secretory glands under the nasal mucosa, causing a runny nose, puffiness, itch nose and sneezing due to nerve stimulation.

When parents are allergic, their children are at 50% chance of having an allergic disease, and if both parents have it, the probability increases to about 70%. Like this, allergies have a strong genetic factor and combinations with temperature, colds, environmental pollution, etc. to make rhinitis worse.

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are not life-threatening, but the symptoms, pains and discomforts associated with them can lead to many problems in daily life by disturbing progress, such as poor learning, work efficiency, and having difficulty sleeping, causing one's quality of life to degrade. About half of allergic rhinitis patients have allergic asthma, urticaria and contact dermatitis.

Allergic rhinitis is mainly due to nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing, so it is easy to get it confused with a cold. Unlike allergic rhinitis, colds are accompanied by sputum, body aches, headaches and fever along with stuffy nose, runny nose and sneezing. Therefore, it is indistinguishable from simple symptoms and is determined by having skin tests or serological tests using inhaled antigens.

Medicine is the go to treatment when allergic symptoms appear, but it is good to be treated steadily not to become chronic. There are drug treatments such as antihistamines and nasal steroids, as well as immunotherapy and surgical treatments to regulate immune responses. However, because it is difficult to completely treat it, it is most important to control the cause of allergic rhinitis. If house dust is the cause, it is important to dry bedclothes, such as blankets and pillows, which are inhabited by house dust so it is recommended to clean them at least once a week. Also, if you are allergic to pollen, you should refrain from activities on windy spring days and wear a mask when you go out.

Written with the help of Dr. Lee Jae Woon, ENT, Nasaret International Hospital
Original Article by KihoIlbo published on 2019 Mar 20


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