Nasal allergies or allergic rhinitis is very common. It often presents with blocked nose or nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing or coughing. It is often associated with asthma, eczema or itchy eyes.
Nasal allergies occur due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Often a family member may also have a history of asthma, eczema, or nasal allergies.
The ENT doctor will do an examination of the nose and nasal cavity. A nasoendoscopy (scope) may be done to do a more detailed examination and to assess the back part of the nose. The scope is done in the clinic and does not require any special preparation or fasting. It is a very quick procedure done after an anaesthetic nasal spray and generally well tolerated.
The most common triggers in Singapore are house dust mites, molds, cockroaches and animal dander.
A skin prick test or blood test can be done to determine what the patient is sensitive to.
Some methods to reduce exposure to trigger and allergens include the following:
1. Avoid carpets rugs and stuffed toys.
2. Hot water wash of all bedding once a week
3. Books and clothes to be stored in a closed cupboard.
4. Air conditioners if used should be cleaned and serviced regularly
5. No pets in the room
The doctor may prescribe a nasal spray. Sometimes, it may be prescribed together with antihistamines. The medications may need to be sustained over a period of time to be effective.
If nasal obstruction or congestion is severe due to enlarged turbinates or crooked nose bone, a simple procedure can be done to reduce the size of the turbinates or to correct the crooked nasal septum.
In patients with severe symptoms, immunotherapy may be recommended.
Often the child may present with multiple episodes of upper respiratory tract infections (“colds” or “flu”) and have persistently runny nose and nasal congestion. This may be due to enlarged adenoids, which act as a reservoir for bacteria. The ENT doctor will be able to do a detailed examination of the nose and assess the size of the adenoids. In these children, an adenoidectomy may be advised.