Allergic rhinitis is a very common condition in children. The highest frequency is among schoolchildren, and it is very rare before the second year of life. In schoolchildren, allergic rhinitis can negatively affect cognitive functions and success in school. Allergic rhinitis is a nasal mucosal disorder, which occurs after contact with allergens from the external environment, resulting in an inflammatory reaction. It can occur at certain times of the year, such as spring or autumn and for that reason, it is called seasonal allergic rhinitis (pollenosis or pollen sneeze). The allergic rhinitis that occurs during any season is called non-seasonal (year-round rhinitis).
The most common CAUSE of seasonal allergic rhinitis is pollen of grass, trees, and weeds, while in non-seasonal allergic rhinitis, the cause is house dust, feathers, animal hair, mold, nutritional allergens, microorganisms.
The most common SYMPTOMS of allergic rhinitis are nausea, abdominal nasal secretions, sneezing – often in attacks 10-20 times, clogged nose, burning in the eyes, photophobia (unable to withstand the light), and watery eyes. In severe cases, there are symptoms of the respiratory system, throat scratches, coughing and difficulty breathing. Physical effort, smoke from cigarettes, air pollution, cold, can potentiate the symptoms. The allergic reaction that affects the mucous membrane of the nose at the same time affects the mucous membrane of the sinuses and leads to the appearance of an allergic sinusitis. If the inflammation takes longer, the child can see large blue circles under the eyes. In severe cases, the allergic reaction may affect the lower respiratory system and lead to asthma, which is common in childhood. Often children can get a secondary infection, so the nose secretion becomes clear purulent, and antibiotic therapy is required.
The DIAGNOSIS of allergic rhinitis is set with data on typical allergic symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, itching), data that some of the family has such symptoms, additional laboratory tests, and skin allergy tests. o TREATMENT of allergic rhinitis consists of two parts: avoiding allergens and treating drugs. The best way to prevent allergic seizures is to avoid allergens (substances that you are allergic). The house (apartment) should be cleaned thoroughly from dust, to remove carpets, curtains, upholstered furniture, feather beds, blankets, plush toys. Pets and birds are not supposed to be kept at home. o In case of seasonal allergic rhinitis (pollen rhinitis), it is RECOMMENDED avoiding walks in the forest and meadow, when the grass and trees bloom, especially after windy weather, when staying at home is recommended. In the spring, at the time of blooming, the windows should be kept closed, with a short-term ventilation of the premises in the morning. In addition to these preventive measures, however, it requires appropriate treatment with medicines that require expert assistance, because untreated allergic rhinitis can lead to asthma in childhood, and in particular the high risk of non-seasonal (all-year) allergic rhinitis.
To summarize – In the spring-summer season, most common allergens are pollen from grass, trees, and weeds. The allergic reaction clinically manifests itself as an allergic rhinitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, otitis, and conjunctivitis. The most common clinical manifestation of seasonal allergy, i.e. allergy from pollen is allergic rhinitis or allergic inflammatory process in the nasal mucosa. Allergic rhinitis occurs over 4-5 years of age. The first clinical signs begin from the nasal mucosa and can affect the entire upper respiratory tract and fall into the lower airways with a clinical picture of asthma. The manifested first sign is sneezing, cough, itching of the nose and eyes. The nose of the child is clogged and it breathes through the mouth. There is abundant mucus from the nose – a watery secretion that later becomes thick yellowish-green. In severe cases, if the child gets constantly exposed to contact with the allergen, headache, anxiety, malaise, decontamination, and learning disorder may occur. An allergic reaction to the nose may be complicated by viral or bacterial infection, which further worsens local findings in the nose. This condition is usually exacerbated by the spread of the process in the sinus cavities and the transition to chronic upper respiratory disease.
The occurrence of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis exacerbates the general state of the child. In order to prevent the chronic suffering of the child, early diagnosis, timely prevention and treatment are required. Allergic rhinitis is proven by clinical signs, the local finding of the mucosa of the nose, laboratory tests and proving the allergic component with allegro logical testing.
Healing of allergic rhinitis begins very early with preventive treatment to prevent contact of the allergen with nasal mucosa 4-6 weeks before the appearance of pollen in the air with medicinal products. At the height of the pollen season, therapy is given to withdraw the allergic inflammatory process and most important is avoiding contact with the existing allergens in the environment and in the home environment and contact with the nicotine smoke from the parents. At the same time, if there are signs of a bacterial infection, a complete remediation of the infection should be necessary, in order for the anti-allergic drugs successfully take effect.
Prevention and therapy are essential for the prevention of upper respiratory tract complications and the descent of the entire respiratory mucosa and the occurrence of asthma attacks. The allergic process affects the whole lymphatic tissue in the upper airways – the tonsils, the third tonsil, and other lymphatic structures. The Lymphatic tissue is the major defense antibody product among which is the most important secretory immunoglobulin A that protects the whole airway from allergy, bacteria, and viruses. If this tissue suffers, it increases even more and it obstructs the airways making the condition even worse. The uncontrolled and undiagnosed existence of an allergic process or removal of this tissue can lead to severe consequences for the health of the child.