Home > Lifestyle > Health
Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday May 23, 2013 MYT 11:40:45 AM
by dr norzila mohamed zainudin
As asthma and rhinitis commonly co-exist, controlling allergic rhinitis can help a child with asthma manage her symptoms better.
HAS your child been sneezing repeatedly, and complaining about a runny or stuffy nose? Is this accompanied by itchy and teary eyes?
Watch out, because these symptoms could signal a condition other than a common cold. It could be rhinitis, where there is inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose, eyes, Eustachian tubes, middle ear, sinuses, and pharynx.
Allergic rhinitis is recognised as a global health problem, and it has the potential to cause significant debility.
Over the past 50 years, it has been shown that allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma often co-exist. Many children with the kind of asthma that is easily triggered by allergens are also prone to having rhinitis.
When these two conditions are present in the same individual, he or she is likely to suffer more severe asthma attacks and may need stronger medications to control their asthma.
One airway, one disease
Asthma is a risk factor for rhinitis. But asthma is also more commonly found in patients with rhinitis. Many studies have found that:
·70-90% of patients with asthma also have rhinitis.
·40-50% of patients with allergic rhinitis also have asthma.
A study that was conducted among 366 patients at four major hospitals around Malaysia found that 92% of patients with nasal symptoms also had allergic rhinitis.
This goes to show that allergic rhinitis is common in people suffering from respiratory problems.
So, if you have a child with asthma, pay close attention to how your child is feeling, and how it fluctuates, or if new symptoms appear from time to time.
Early diagnosis of rhinitis can give you and your child a headstart in taking steps to manage and cope. If proper treatment and management is administered, it is more likely that your child will be less affected by the debilitating effects that might affect her home, school and social life.
Control allergic rhinitis to control asthma
Controlling allergic rhinitis can help a person with asthma manage his symptoms. Allergic rhinitis can be classified as intermittent when the symptoms occur for less than four days in a week or lasts for less than four weeks, and persistent if the symptoms occur for more than four days a week and last for more than four weeks.
Some of the precautions you can take include:
Learn how to avoid potential triggers that may set off a child’s condition.
·Vacuum your home often to reduce the number of dust mites.
·Provide adequate ventilation to reduce humidity.
·Remove carpets, pets and stuffed toys from the bedroom.
·If you have a garden, consider planting low allergen plants.
·Keep windows closed at home and while riding in a car.
·Advise your child to stay indoors early in the morning, during windy days and after thunderstorms, as these are times when environmental allergens are usually at peak numbers.
·If you have furry pets, try to keep them outside the home or bathe them regularly.
·Eradicate cockroaches using appropriate gel-type, non-volatile insecticides.
·Encourage your child to shower right after they arrive home and clean their eyes with a wet washer.
·Tell your child to carry a supply of tissues wherever they go.
Generally, medications for rhinitis work by either blocking allergic responses or reducing the severity of inflammation.
·Antihistamines are the most frequently prescribed medication for treating allergies. It is the first-line treatment for mild allergic rhinitis, and is effective for sneezing, nasal itchiness and runny nose.
·Oral antihistamines can reduce itching and redness in the eyes.
·A doctor may prescribe decongestants to help relieve allergy symptoms.
·Children with persistent allergic rhinitis will require nasal corticosteroids. It is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It is effective in treating all nasal symptoms, which include nasal obstruction, and is safe to use in children.
Be mindful to observe and identify the specific allergens that tend to trigger asthmatic or rhinitis symptoms in your child and come up with ways to avoid them.
Rhinitis is a long-term condition, but by practising good control measures to manage the condition, it would increase the chances of your child being able to live a normal, active and productive life, without too much respiratory health problems. References:
4. www.allergymsai.org/ article.php?aid=38
5. www.worldallergy.org/ public/allergic_diseases_center/caras/
10. health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/allergic- rhinitis/overview.html
● Dr Norzila Mohamed Zainudin is a consultant paediatrician and paediatric respiratory physician. This article is courtesy of Positive Parenting Programme by the Malaysian Paediatric Association, supported by an educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline. The opinions expressed in the article are the views of the author. For further information, please visit www.mypositiveparenting.org. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.
Tags / Keywords:
Health, asthma, rhinitis
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)