The initial approach in managing both seasonal and perennial forms of allergic rhinitis involves avoidance of the allergens that trigger the manifestation of the symptoms.
Once an individual experiences the symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as sneezing, stuffy nose, itching, swollen eyelids and coughing, he/she might have allergic rhinitis.
An individual with allergic rhinitis should limit time spent outdoors to avoid the symptoms. On the other hand, if it is required to go outside, there are preventive measures to bear in mind.
- It is recommended to stay indoors as much as possible once the pollen count is at their peak especially during early evening and mid-morning and if strong winds are that can stir up the pollen.
- Use sunglasses while outdoors to reduce the amount of pollen that enters the eyes.
- Always use a pollen mask when gardening, mowing the lawn or raking leaves.
- Do not use window fans that will draw in mold and pollen inside the house.
- Instruct the individual not to rub his/her eyes since it will cause further irritation.
- Do not hang clothing outdoors since pollen can stick to the sheets and towels.
- Always keep the windows closed and utilize an air conditioning unit inside the house and vehicle at all times.
- Minimize exposure to dust mites by using “mite-proof” covers for pillows, mattresses, comforters and box springs. The bedding must be washed regularly using hot water.
- Reduce exposure to mold by keeping the humidity inside the house low.
- The floor must be cleaned using a damp mop or rag.
Exposure to pets
In case pets are around and could not be avoided, there are measures to bear in mind to minimize the symptoms.
- After handling or petting any animal, you have to wash hands right away. Clothes should be washed after visiting a house that has pets around.
- The air ducts that lead to the bedroom should be closed if there is a forced-air or central heating or cooling in place. If possible, carpeting must be replaced with tile, linoleum or hardwood which are easier to clean and do not hold dander.
- If an individual is allergic to a particular household pet, it is recommended to keep the animal out of the house as much as possible. If the pet must be inside, it should stay out of the bedroom so that the individual is not exposed to the allergen while sleeping.
It is important to bear in mind though that most of the allergens that trigger allergic rhinitis are airborne, thus they could not always be avoided.
Some of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be controlled by using over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants. Once a doctor is consulted, prescription medications are given which are more effective such as antihistamines in the form of eye drops, nasal sprays or oral medications. In some cases, the doctor might recommend allergy shots (immunotherapy).