Paediatric allergic rhinitis is a common condition that affects many children in Singapore. It can cause a range of symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion, as well as lead to other issues like sleep disturbance and decreased quality of life. Children are more prone to developing allergic rhinitis due to their immunological naive immune system and exposure to allergens. Hence, it is crucial for parents to understand the condition so that they can take preventative measures or provide better care to their children. In this article, we explore the basics of paediatric allergic rhinitis and how a paediatric ENT specialist can help.
Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis is a condition in which exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander, or mould spores triggers an immune response in the body. This immune response causes inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages, leading to symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itching, and congestion.
Allergic rhinitis can be classified into two types: seasonal and perennial. The latter can occur year-round due to indoor allergens while the former only happens during specific times of the year when plants release pollen into the air.
Paediatric allergic rhinitis can trigger mild to severe symptoms that can affect a child’s overall well-being. Some of the common symptoms include:
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, bring your child to a paediatric ENT specialist for a check. The doctor will perform a thorough physical examination of your child’s ear, nose, and throat, to confirm the diagnosis, as well as recommend treatment options.
1. Antihistamines: These are medications that help reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis by blocking the effects of histamine, which is a compound released by the body in response to allergens. Antihistamines are used to treat mild to moderate symptoms.
2. Nasal Corticosteroids: These are medications that reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis. They are effective in treating moderate to severe symptoms.
3. Saline Nasal Wash: This clears blocked nasal passages by cleaning the nose and removing allergens.
4. Decongestants: These help relieve nasal congestion caused by allergic rhinitis. They are available in tablet, liquid, or nasal spray form and can be used to treat mild to moderate symptoms.
5. Immunotherapy: This is a treatment option for children with severe allergic rhinitis. It involves exposing the child to small amounts of the allergen over time to help the body build immunity to the allergen.
6. Allergen Avoidance: Avoiding allergens that trigger symptoms of allergic rhinitis is an effective way to manage the condition. This may involve making changes to the child’s environment, such as using air filters, washing bedding regularly, and keeping pets out of the child’s room.
Allergic rhinitis, if left untreated, can significantly affect a child’s quality of life and well-being. But with proper medical care and management, children suffering from allergic rhinitis can lead a healthy and active life.
Dr Jenica Yong is a paediatric ENT specialist in Singapore providing comprehensive ENT care through evidence-based medicine to help treat a wide range of ENT conditions. Schedule a medical appointment with us today.