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Allergy refers to an abnormal sensitivity to a substance that normally does not cause problems to most of us. This hypersensitivity usually manifests itself in various illnesses like allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and atopic eczema. In Singapore, about one in two children suffer from Allergic Rhinitis. It is more common all year round as compared to seasonal rhinitis.
What are allergens? Allergens are the substances that cause allergic reactions. There are many known allergens and different people can be sensitive to different sets of allergens. These allergens can enter the body by inhaling, eating or through direct contact to the skin. Common examples of allergens include house dust mites, cockroaches, mold and animal dander.
What is Allergic Rhinitis? Allergic Rhinitis occurs when an allergen is inhaled. Symptoms include
Skin prick test This test is the most common and cost-effective method of determining a person’s sensitivity to the various allergens. It can also help to determine a person’s degree of sensitivity to the allergens.
Why does my child have Allergic Rhinitis?Most allergic diseases are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This means that there is usually a family member with asthma, allergic rhinitis or eczema. However, this alone does not account for the increase in allergic diseases that is happening all over the world. Factors in the environment play a part.
What are House Dust Mites? House dust mites are microscopic creatures that are found commonly in mattresses, pillows, bed sheets, clothing, soft toys, fabric sofas and carpets. They live in all our homes and feed mainly on the scales of skin that we shed. Allergic individuals who may suffer from asthma, allergic rhinitis or eczema are commonly sensitised (allergic) to these house dust mites.
The common house dust mites in Singapore are Dermatophagoides species and Blomia Tropicalis. The droppings of these dust mites are the most common trigger of allergy and asthma.
However, there is no relationship between the triggers of allergy and asthma to how clean the house is. As people spend most of their time in the bedroom, it is important to reduce the levels of dust mites there.
How do I avoid the triggers? Some simple but very effective measures
Consider: Cover your mattresses and pillows with special non-allergic covers.
What medicines are used in Allergic Rhinitis?
Will Allergic Rhinitis develop into asthma?Both conditions can also co-exist and both conditions need to be treated for the child to remain well controlled.
Instructions for use of a nasal spray