If left untreated, allergic rhinitis can worsen, this is according to Dr Adrian Siew Ming Saurajen, an ENT surgeon at Ear Nose Throat and Snoring Centre. “It has been associated with asthma, chest, sinus and ear infections, as well as snoring, decreased energy and poor concentration. And when it affects the growth of the child’s face and teeth, it predisposes the patient to a small airway as an adult,” he adds.
In some cases, the doctor will recommend immunotherapy. However, he’ll first need to determine what allergen his patient is sensitive to as this treatment involves giving the patient the offending allergen in tiny doses and increasing the doses over time, so as to desensitise the body to it. This method eventually eases the patient’s symptoms and inflammation, since it is aimed at altering his response to the allergen.
Dr Saurajen adds that if the patient’s airways are still blocked despite these treatments or if there are structural obstructions, surgery may be considered, although it’s a last resort.
To manage the allergies, try
* Reducing the amount of allergens in your environment.
* Using steroid nasal sprays or oral antihistamines.
* Trying immunotherapy — desensitising the patient to the allergen by introducing small amounts of it to his body.
* Surgery as a last resort, if the above measures prove ineffective.
Signs of rhinitis
Look out for the following symptoms if you suspect that your peewee is suffering from allergic rhinitis.
* Runny nose.
* Nasal congestion.
* Sneezes frequently.
* Suffers headaches.
* Has itchy or red eyes.
* Has an impaired sense of taste or smell.