SPRING AND THE RETURN OF HAY FEVER
For allergy sufferers, the return of good weather means stuffed nose and sneezes. Overall, one third of French people suffer from allergic rhinitis, better known as hay fever, and this number is on the rise.
The most common symptoms are bursts of sneezing, heavy rhinorrhoea (runny nose) or nasal obstruction, and itchy nostrils.
The treatment is symptomatic during the season to best relieve the patient. As an ENT specialist, I always recommend to my patients that they follow a few rules:
Rinse your nasal cavities several times a day with isotonic seawater, a saline solution or seawater, in order to clear pollen from your nasal passages.
Stay as much as possible indoors and keep the windows closed. If you go out, remember to take a shower and rinse your hair thoroughly when you come back home.
Take a magnesium supplement to limit the release of histamine, involved in causing these symptoms. Ideally tablets should be taken on an empty stomach.
In case of runny nose and itchiness, take fast-acting antihistamines.
In case of stuffy nose, apply everyday one or two nasal corticosteroid sprays for hay fever such as beclometasone, in order to reduce mucosal inflammation.
Even if the symptoms are mild, untreated allergic rhinitis can worsen and lead to chronic sinusitis. Persistent rhinitis is often associated with asthma, regardless of the extent of the symptoms. It is worthwhile underlining that allergic rhinitis increases the risk of otitis media in children.