Allergy Treatment

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Allergy

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Allergic rhinitis is swelling and inflammation of the lining of the nose caused by an allergy. It is a common problem affecting 1 in 5 people in the UK. Typical symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and nasal stuffiness. An allergy is where an environmental trigger causes a reaction in the body's immune system. Common environmental triggers include irritants such as dust, house dust mites, mould, pollen, animals, grass and trees. Other allergic symptoms include itching, skin rashes and watery eyes.

Trigger factors for chronic rhinitis include airborne irritants and low humidity (dry air).

Risk factors include: atopy (history of asthma or eczema), family history, pollution, reduced exposure to infections and exposure to cigarette smoke.

We treat simple allergies to pets, dust mite and also hay fever and can prescribe prescription only treatments including Avamys (nasal steroid spray) and Fexofenadine (anti-histamine tablet). Nasal steroids reduce the inflammation of the lining of the nose and help ease nasal symptoms. Antihistamines help to prevent the allergic reaction.

Please see the Common Treatments section below for further information.


Common Symptoms

  • a runny nose
  • sneezing
  • watery and/or itchy eyes
  • a blocked nose
  • a mild headache
Common Treatments

Possible treatments we prescribe if clinically appropriate:

  • Fexofenadine 120mg once a day: 30 day course (£1.53*)
  • Avamys Nasal Spray (120 doses) 1-2 sprays per nostril once daily (£6.44*)

These medications are only available on prescription.

*Prices shown are cost price of the medication, taken from the British National Formulary 2018, and are given as a guideline. Pharmacies will add a dispensing fee to this which will vary considerably, so it is worthwhile phoning around to compare prices. The medication is paid for at your chosen pharmacy. 

Please click on the medication above to read the Patient Information Leaflet for important information about each drug. We use national prescribing guidelines to select which treatment would be most appropriate for your condition. 

Self-help

Nasal Irrigation

Cleaning your nasal passages regularly with a salt water solution can help keep your nasal lining clear of irritants. You can buy over-the-counter saline (salt water) drops or spray from the pharmacy. You may also make a saltwater solution at home using half a teaspoon each of salt and baking powder mixed in 500ml of cooled boiled water. Hold some of the solution in your hand and breathe it into each nostril. This can be repeated as frequently as required but use a fresh solution each time. 

There are many different environmental allergens which may trigger allergies. Please see the following advice for some potential allergens:

House dust mite:

  • Use impermeable dust mite covers on mattresses and pillows.
  • Using synthetic instead of natural pillows and acrylic duvets.
  • Wash bedding at high temperatures regularly, at least weekly.
  • Keep furry toys off the bed.
  • Choose hard floors instead of carpets where possible.
  • Choose blinds instead of curtains.
  • Wash all surfaces regularly with a damp, clean cloth.

Pollen:

  • Check your local pollen count.
  • Pollen levels are usually highest between 5am-10am and on windy days.
  • Avoid grassy or heavily planted open areas.
  • Keep windows at home and in the car shut when the pollen count is high.
  • Shower and wash your hair after going out.

When to seek further medical advice

Most people improve within a few days of starting treatment.

If your symptoms are worsening or not improving, then you are advised to see a doctor or speak to a pharmacist. 

If you develop symptoms of nasal pain, blockage or bleeding affecting just one side of your nose, then you should see a doctor for a physical assessment. This is to rule out any underlying complications. 

Complications

Complications of allergic rhinitis include:

  • poor quality of life
  • poor asthma control
  • sinus infection
  • nasal polyps
  • chronic middle ear infection (otitis media)

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Do you require prescription only treatment for allergy?


We could assess you and send you a treatment plan with a prescription, if appropriate, within an hour.