Ayurvedic treatment for Allergic rhinitis -AR-

Allergic rhinitis -AR

Know More on Allergy & immunity / Infection

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Allergic rhinitis -AR Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS ALLERGIC RHINITIS -AR?

Allergic rhinitis or AR refers to the condition that causes symptoms such as a runny nose, itching sensation in in eyes, nasal congestion, continues sneezing & heaviness in head. It is also known as ‘Hay fever’. In-spite of the symptoms being similar to that of common cold it is a different condition as it is not caused by a virus but due to allergy. AR is due to an allergic response to allergens such as pollen, chemical particle, dust, insects’ etc.1

AR affects the day to day quality of life and interferes with daily life. It can be avoided by avoiding the triggers.1

In Ayurveda, texts describe conditions with symptoms similar to those of Allergic rhinitis under the heading of Vataja Pratishyaya (Symptoms of cold due to Vata dosha). The onset of symptoms and continual episodes of these nasal/nose related symptoms also indicate the control of Vata dosha in the condition.2

Factors like dust, fumes, cold breeze etc. drive the symptoms of the condition through abhighata (morbidity) in Nasa (nose) organ of Pranavaha strotasa (Respiratory tissues) and the resultant provocation of Vata, Rasa, Rakta Dhatu (tissues). Extended and ceaseless exposure to causative factors may lead to vitiation of mansa (Muscles), meda (Lipids) etc. This further leads to many respiratory conditions like bronchitis, bronchial asthma etc.2

Causes

Allergic rhinitis -AR-

ALLERGIC RHINITIS -AR CAUSES

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system misunderstands harmless matter to be an attacker in the body. The body reacts against this attacker by producing antibodies. On repeated contact, these antibodies help release ‘histamines’ in the body that are responsible for the symptoms.1

Symptoms

Allergic rhinitis -AR-

ALLERGIC RHINITIS -AR SYMPTOMS

The many signs and symptoms of AR are1:

  • Running nose and congestion
  • Watering & itching of eyes along with redness (type of allergic conjunctivitis)
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itching in nose and the roof of mouth or throat
  • Dark patches under the eyes (allergic shiners)

These signs and symptoms can be related to various seasonal factors like dust, flower pollen, time of the year, and change in climate etc.1

Diagnosis

Allergic rhinitis -AR-

ALLERGIC RHINITIS -AR DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis of AR is based on the personal history of the patient. Additionally, doctors may also recommend one or both of the following tests1:

  • Skin prick test. This test helps in understanding the potential allergens.1
  • Allergy Blood test. This involves a blood test [The radioallergosorbent test (RAST)] that measures immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies which are seen in allergy.1

Management

Allergic rhinitis -AR-

ALLERGIC RHINITIS -AR AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

The basic concept of nidana-parivarjana (staying away from factors that cause the condition) is the foremost strategy to conquer over any disease. Management of Vataja pratishyay calls for soothing of the aggravated vata. This can be achieved by shodhana nasya (nasal insufflations of medicines) and Vasti ( therapeutic enemas), and following appropriate precautions (in ahar and vihar) in addition to  symptomatic treatment with herbal medications.1

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Ushnodaka (Warm water) for use, Triphala and honey can be used in diet. Factors that are identified to cause symptoms should be avoided.3
  • Tea prepared with ginger, honey and lemon may help

Milk products, fish or sea food, alcohol and virudha ahara (opposing foods) should be avoided. 3

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Avoid diwaswap (daytime sleeping), and Atapa sevana (excessive outdoor work).3

Yogic breathing exercises and saline irrigation through Neti karma may also be beneficial when practiced under proper guidance.

FAQS

Allergic rhinitis -AR-
  1. How is sinusitis caused? Does it have anything to do with cold foods?

Sinusitis is basically an inflammation of the membranes of para-nasal sinuses or the group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity. Colds, bacterial infections, allergies, asthma and other health conditions can cause sinusitis, or inflammation of the para-nasal sinuses.

In some people, cold foods may flare the condition and aggravate the allergies resulting in sinus problems. Such people should avoid eating cold foods.

  1. What are symptoms of Asthma? How do I know if someone may have asthma?

Symptoms of Asthma differ from person to person. Some may have infrequent asthma attacks, some have symptoms only at certain times — such as when exercising — or some have symptoms all the time. 

Asthma signs and symptoms include-

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
  1. My reports show a low platelet count, do I have dengue?

Diagnosing dengue fever can be difficult, because its signs and symptoms can be easily confused with those of other diseases — such as malaria, chikungunya, leptospirosis and typhoid fever.

Your doctor will likely ask about your medical and travel history. Be sure to describe any contact you may have had with mosquitoes. Certain laboratory tests can detect evidence of the dengue viruses, but test results usually come back too late to help direct treatment decisions. A low platelet count is generally seen in dengue but is not the only isolated finding. Fever, body-ache, skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever and minor bleeding accompanied by low platelet count is conclusive of Dengue.

  1. How does one contract typhoid? 

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacteria called S. typhi. This bacteria spreads through ingestion of contaminated food or water, and occasionally through direct contact with someone who is infected. In developing nations, where typhoid fever is endemic, most cases result from contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation. The majority of people in industrialized countries pick up typhoid bacteria while traveling and spread it to others through the fecal-oral route or contamination of food and drinking water with fecal contact that may occur due to flies, etc.

This means that S. typhi is passed in the feces and sometimes in the urine of infected people. You can contract the infection if you eat food handled by someone with typhoid fever who hasn't washed hands carefully after using the toilet. You can also become infected by drinking water contaminated with the bacteria.

  1. Can malaria only spread from mosquitoes?

Although the commonest cause of malarial fever is due to a bite by the infected female anopheles mosquito, this is not necessarily the only way one can be affected. 

Because the parasites that cause malaria affect red blood cells, people can also catch malaria from exposures to infected blood, including:

  • From mother to unborn child
  • Through blood transfusions
  • By sharing needles used to inject drugs
  • Organ transplants
  1. Does yellowness of eyes always mean there is a liver problem?

In some people who eat large amounts of food rich in beta-carotene (such as carrots, squash, and some melons), their skin may look slightly yellow, but their eyes do not turn yellow. This condition is not jaundice and is unrelated to liver disease.

Yellowness of the eyes is usually due to the leaked bilirubin pigment in the blood stream. This is called jaundice and most probably occurs in cases of liver inflammation. Such patients will also have a visible yellowness of skin.

  1. How does one get elephantiasis? 

Elephantiasis is basically swelling of the lymph glands due to an infection. The disease spreads from person to person by mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites a person who has lymphatic filariasis, microscopic worms circulating in the person's blood enter and infect the mosquito. People get lymphatic filariasis from the bite of an infected mosquito. The microscopic worms pass from the mosquito through the skin, and travel to the lymph vessels. In the lymph vessels they grow into adults. An adult worm lives for about 5–7 years. The adult worms mate and release millions of microscopic worms, called microfilariae, into the blood. People with the worms in their blood can give the infection to others through mosquitoes.

  1. What is the difference between Pneumonia and Pneumonitis?

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing.

Pneumonitis on the other hand, is a general term that refers to inflammation of lung tissue. Although pneumonia is technically a type of pneumonitis because the infection causes inflammation, most doctors refer to other causes of lung inflammation when they use the term "pneumonitis”.

Factors that can cause pneumonitis include exposure to airborne irritants at your job or from your hobbies. In addition, some types of cancer treatments and dozens of drugs can cause pneumonitis.

  1. Is rheumatic fever same as rheumatoid arthritis?

They are different. Rheumatic fever occurs after an infection of the throat with a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A streptococcus. Group A streptococcus infections of the throat cause strep throat or, less commonly, scarlet fever. Group A streptococcus infections of the skin or other parts of the body rarely trigger rheumatic fever. The exact link between strep infection and rheumatic fever isn't clear, but it appears that the bacterium ‘plays tricks’ on the immune system.

Rheumatic fever usually occurs in younger population especially children while rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammation of the body that mostly affects the joints in adults. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that certain cells of the immune system do not work properly and start attacking healthy tissues — especially the joints. The one that affects young children is called stilts disease.

  1. Every time I touch cold water I get these spots on my skin. There is no other complaint. Is this because of some allergy to water?

You may have a condition called Urticaria. It is a skin reaction that causes red or white itchy spots on the skin. There is a type of Urticaria called cold urticaria, in which skin that has been in contact with cold develops reddish, itchy spots. The severity of cold urticaria symptoms varies widely. Some people have minor reactions to cold, while others have severe reactions. Swimming in cold water is the most common cause of a whole-body (systemic) reaction.

References

Allergic rhinitis -AR-
  1. Mayo Clinic. Hay fever. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/basics/definition/con-20020827 accessed Aug 31st 2016
  2. Sahu SK, Dhiman KS et al. Allergic rhinitis in Ayurvedic perspectives. World J Pharm Res. 2015; Vol. 4(8): 2192-98
  3. Patel MK, Hingmire NS et al. Studies on Dooshivish and Its Management According to Ayurveda in Co-Relation with Allergic. IRJIMS April 2016; Vol.2 (3): 29-37

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