INFECTIOUS RESPIRATORY DISEASES
Section I. UPPER RESPIRATORY DISEASES
a. Definition/Characteristics. Allergic rhinitis may be defined as the
inflammation of nasal mucosa brought about by airborne pollens that react to release
histamine. In other words, when some people breathe pollens that are in the air, the
pollens cause histamine to be released. The excess of histamine in the body causes
nasal mucosa to become inflamed. Causes of allergic rhinitis, more common during the
warmest months of the year, include hay fever and allergic disorders which are common
during seasons when the pollen count is high. Allergicrhinitis is also caused by house
dust, occupational dust, molds, and animal danders (feathers, wool in blankets).
Certain foods and drugs cause allergic rhinitis symptoms; sometimes bacteria cause
Profuse watery discharge.
Itching of nose and conjunctiva.
c. Treatment. Treatment may include a combination of antihistamines,
decongestants, or desensitization as well as management. Elimination of house dust,
pollens, and such may bring relief to the patient's symptoms.
(1) Antihistamines. For the majority of patients, antihistamines will not only
control the symptoms of allergic rhinitis but also dry out the membranes. Caution:
Antihistamines cause some persons to be sedated, depressed, sleepy, or
uncoordinated. Watch for these reactions.
(2) Decongestants. Give decongestants if the patient suffers from nasal
obstruction. Decongestants are effective for short-term but not long-term treatment.
(3) Desensitization. Several months before the season when the individual
becomes acutely uncomfortable from pollen, give injections of pollen extracts that are
specifically made for the individual. Continue giving the injections once a week during
the peak of the pollen season.