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Sinus Related Articles > Allergic Rhinitis or The Allergic Response

Allergic Rhinitis or The Allergic Response

One of the principal functions of the nose is to remove particles from the air before it goes into the lungs.

The allergic response

It is one of a number of mechanisms the body has to defend itself from the outside environment. Foreign particles become trapped in the mucus lining of the nose and are subsequently destroyed.

One of these involves specific protein and chemical reactions within the body and is called the allergic response. This specific mechanism can affect any area of the body where a foreign substance is encountered.

Because of the amount of foreign material processed in the nose, the allergic response can become quite noticeable and troublesome.

Histamine is one of the principal chemicals involved in the allergic response. It is responsible for many of the symptoms of allergy, including swelling, itchiness, and sneezing.

The allergic response can also cause the overproduction of mucus, leading to a runny nose. This is the reason that antihistamines, drugs that block the action of this chemical, are often used in treating allergies. Other methods of therapy include nasal steroid sprays or cromolyn nasal sprays. Cromoglycate is a drug whose sodium salt is inhaled to prevent asthmatic attacks and allergic reactions.

Common allergens are dust mites, proteins from pet fur called dander, molds, and pollen. Avoiding the specific item that provokes an allergic response - called an allergen - is a key element in treatment.

In some cases the cause is obvious, as when cutting the grass or petting the dog provoke an allergic response. In others, the offending allergen may not be so easily identified or there may be many allergens, complicating the diagnosis and treatment of the problem.

In many cases, conferring with an allergist can help find out the cause. After a thorough history and physical examination, allergy testing may be warranted. Occasionally, allergy shots can help to blunt the individual's reaction to the allergen.

Allergic rhinitis is associated with other conditions, such as asthma and sinusitis. The lining of the nose, or mucosa, is made up of the same type of cells as those that line the sinuses and lungs.

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