ISLAMABAD: ‘Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever is the most common form of allergy in Pakistan, affecting 24.62 per cent Pakistanis. This was revealed by health experts at a press briefing to mark the start of allergy season in Pakistan.
We should come together to increase the level of awareness about Allergic Rhinitis and address this issue at all forums. It is a public health problem and disease burden may increase by many times if not controlled at the start of the season, experts added.
Holy Family Hospital ENT Department Head Dr Muhammad Ajmal said, ‘Allergic Rhinitis or hay fever, happens when one breathes in something to which one is allergic, and the inside of the nose becomes inflamed and swollen. Allergic rhinitis is clinically defined as a symptomatic disorder of the nose and is characterised by nasal symptoms including rhinorrhoea (runny nose), sneezing, and nasal blockage and or itching of the nose. It is often associated with ocular symptoms.
It is triggered by allergens and allergens can be found both outdoors and indoors. When allergic rhinitis is caused by outdoor allergens, e.g., mould or trees, grass and weed pollens — it is often referred to as seasonal allergies, or “hay fever”,’ said Allergic rhinitis may also be triggered by allergens found in the home, such as animal dander, indoor mould, or house dust mites. He said that the goal of treatment of allergic rhinitis (AR) is to improve a patient’s well-being, or quality of life,’ he added.
Asst. Professor of ENT at Holy Family Hospital Dr Ahmed Hassan said: “Allergic Rhinitis in adults and children has been shown to lead to substantial impairment of quality of life,” he added.
While highlighting the burden, he said that Allergic Rhinitis reduces learning ability in children and 88% of pediatric AR patients have sleep disorders. The presence of AR often precedes the development of asthma, he added.
Professor Dr Aftab Akhtar Head of Pulmonology at Shifa International Hospital said, Allergic rhinitis can lead to Asthma.
“We cannot undermine its consequences on the patient social live, educational performance and work productivity. It also affects quality of life, including psychological well-being and the ability to learn and process cognitive input”, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2017.