The word “allergy” is composed of “allos” (other) and “ergon” (work) words in Greek. Allergy means the body’s reaction and high sensitivity to certain substances re-exposed to a person who has become over sensitive to these substances during their initial introduction to the body.

Antigen is the foreign substance, which enters the body through various channels and generates specific counterparts within blood. These counterparts are called antibodies. If this antigen causes allergy, then it is called allergen. The immune system reacts to the foreign substances in our environment that enter the body through various ways in order to defend us (For instance, high fever arises when viruses and bacteria are taken into the body through respiration). For people with allergic physiques, when non-harmful substances (allergens) enter the body, the immune system reacts as if the substances taken in are harmful, and thus various allergic reactions occur.

When our organisms encounter with foreign substances in the beginning of our lives, the immune system identifies and stores them in its memory. Afterwards, it generates responses for similar situations by producing antibodies against foreign substances (antigen). Thanks to the memorizing ability of the immune system, whenever the same antigen is encountered in the organism, a pre-organized response is triggered. Therefore, a person with pollinosis immediately reacts when exposed to pollens, as a result of the aforementioned feature of the immune system.

What is rhinitis? : Rhinitis is the inflammation of mucosa, a membrane covering the inner surface of the nose. It is characterized by symptoms such as itching in the nose, sneezing, nasal flow, and nasal blockage. These symptoms may be accompanied by further symptoms such as headache, diminished smell perception, and conjunctivitis.

alerjik_rinit_2Allergic rhinitis is not a life threatening illness, but it affects on and reduceslife quality significantly. Allergic rhinitis is also financially damaging since it causes loss of workdays for adults, and loss of schooldays for children, in addition to requiring high costs for treatment.

What causes Allergy? : There are many known and unknown factors that may cause allergy. Among the most common ones, dust, pollens, fungus, various types of food (milk, egg, strawberry etc.), chemical substances, and pets can be listed.

What are the symptoms? : The most common symptoms of the allergy regarding ENT are nasal flow, sneezing, nasal, itching, post-nasal drainage, cough and tickling in the throat, chronic coughing, and pressure issues inside the middle ear. As compared to non-allergic people, allergic people more often experience sinusitis, nasal concha hypertrophy or polyp, asthma, and skin reactions.

What can be observed during medical examination? : Nasal flow can directly be observed during the examination of patients with allergic rhinitis. Pale colors inside the nose, transparent secretion flow, edema (swelling), and if exists nasal concha can also be observed. Sometimes, a view of the inner nose can be sufficient for diagnosing without even listening to patient’s complaints. Post-nasal drainage and pharyngitis can be seen while checking inside the mouth.

What kinds of tests are performed? : When suspected diagnosis is allergy after medical examination, the most frequently performed test is the skin test. However, even if test result is negative, it does not resolve that patient does not have allergy. There are other possibilities such as being reactive to an allergen that does not function in skin tests, or as allergens causing allergy when entering into the body through respiration and not through the skin. Skin tests can identify how allergic a person is to a certain substance. Aside from these tests, the amount of a substance in blood, referred as IgE, can be measured. Furthermore, there are some blood tests, which are more reliable, but more expensive and more difficult to perform compared to skin tests.

How is diagnosis made? : The most important elements for the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis are patient’s medical record (anamnesis) and examination findings. If making a diagnosis of allergy seems appropriate depending on these findings, then the patient is accepted as allergic. Skin tests and other blood tests are performed to specify the type of the allergy. Even if the test results are negative, allergy treatment for the patient is still initiated.

How is allergy treated? :

There are 3 main categories in allergic rhinitis treatment.

-Being protected from allergen,

2- Medicine treatment

-Immunotherapy (Vaccine treatment)


Light Treatment Applications for Allergic Catarrh at Ekol ENT

rhinolight_smallThe light treatment for allergic catarrh, which is a non-microbial inflammation of nasal mucosa, is called Rhinolight, which is compromised of high density light with a new and special content. In Rhinolight treatment, which is executed in 6 or 8 sessions within two weeks, a light consisting of a mixture of beams at special wavelengths is used. There emerges no pain and no sense of temperature during the operation that is applied through nostrils. The light conveyed with Rhinolight is composed of the visible beams by more than 70 percent, ultraviolet A (UVA) by 25 percent, and ultraviolet B (UVB) by less than 5 percent. For the patients who suffer from both seasonal and annual allergic catarrh, all kinds of complaints such as itching, blockage, and sneezing, which emerge depending on the allergy, are successfully diminished or completely cleared with rhinolight. Rhinolight, which is the latest technological achievement in treatment of allergy, is successfully applied at Ekol ENT.

Being protected from allergen is the basic treatment method for allergic rhinitis. However, this method is usually impracticable. The treatment becomes difficult due to several factors such as being unable to accurately identify allergen, patient being allergic to more than one substance, and the impossibility of avoiding allergic substances even if the allergen is identified. Still, there are some precautions that may be taken by the patient.

– Staying away from dusty and smoky environments, and if this option is not viable wearing masks.

– Adjusting temperature and humidity

– Staying in closed environments during the seasons when pollen density is high, and keeping doors and windows closed.

– Having in-home objects made up of leather, vinyl, and plastic instead of carpets, rugs, and blankets.

– Not having plants or animals inside the house.

– Using specially designed bedclothes and sheets. If they cannot be obtained, then regularly washing all bedclothes and sheets with hot water.

– Making sure that vacuum cleaner does not discharge dust into outside environment.

– Staying away from hairy and wooly toys.

– The patient should decide her own precautions considering the environments and circumstances in which her complaints starts or increases.

The most frequently consumed substance in medicine treatment is antihistaminic. These medicines aim to reduce histamine that takes part in allergic reactions. They are usually very beneficial. They can be even more beneficial if they are consumed before being exposed to allergen. They are particularly affective on itching, nasal flow, and sneezing. However, deciding which antihistaminic is beneficial to the patient is often done on a trial and error basis. If an antihistaminic loses its effect, it should be replaced with another one. The major side effects of these medicines are drowsiness, dry mouth, tachycardia, dysuria, and high intraocular pressure. Nonetheless, such side affects are considerably reduced with the latest generation of antihistaminic.

Following antihistaminic, the most beneficial medicine from our perspective is corticosteroid (cortisone). When these medicines are applied orally or on the hips, they can be more effective, but they also have more side effects. For this reason, they are usually utilized as nasal sprays. When used as nasal sprays, they generate a considerably good effect and slightest level of side effects.

Nasal sprays referred as decongestants and cromolyn, a medicine that prevents allergic reactions, are also available.

Immunotherapy (vaccine treatment) is a treatment done by introducing the allergy causing substance to the patient’s body, starting with low doses and increasing the dose henceforth. Through this treatment, the body recognizes the substance and adjusts itself to not reacting upon encounter with the substance. However, this treatment does not always end up well. It requires to be vaccinated throughout years starting with a pattern of once a week. Although this treatment sometimes attains favorable results, it is not always recommended.

When is surgery recommended? : Concha enlargement due to allergy, and chronic sinusitis reduce the chances of success of medicine treatments. In such circumstances surgery may become necessary.

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