An increasing number of people are reporting symptoms of allergic rhinitis – sneezing and runny nose caused by inhaled allergens -- because of the hot, dry weather and the intermittent dust storms.
“People with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma usually don’t have a problem in summers but this is also the time when there is a lot of dust and pollen in the atmosphere. More and more people are reporting symptoms of rhinitis,” said Dr Vikas Maurya, senior consulting pulmonologist at BL Kapur Superspeciality hospital.
Maurya said he has seen a 20-30% increase in the number of patients at his clinic with allergic rhinitis. “The symptoms are also severe and it takes about five to seven days for them to recover,” he said.
The suspended dust and pollen is the reason. “In hot weather, the air gets rarefied and the dust and pollen stay suspended in the air for longer, which means people breathe in more of it. Those suffering from rhinitis will get some relief in the monsoon as the rain helps settle down the allergens,” said Dr Brig. Ashok Rajput, director, department of pulmonology, Fortis, Shalimar Bagh. At his clinic, the cases of allergic rhinitis have doubled.
“For asthmatic people sensitive to dust and pollen, the symptoms become worse. They must avoid the allergens as much as possible. They must not step out from air-conditioned places and must avoid cold drinks,” he said.
Putting on a mask, preferably N95 or N99, or tying a cloth on the mouth and the nose is a good idea for people who suffer from allergic rhinitis, experts said.
Also, people must not ignore their symptoms and must visit a doctor, experts said.
“It is important that people do not take medicines on their own. Sometimes, people suffering from allergic rhinitis may also have asthma that they are unaware about. They should visit a doctor who can diagnose the illness,” said Dr Rajput. According to him, 30-40% people, who suffer from allergic rhinitis, also have asthma.
“If the symptoms persist and disrupt the daily routine or if you have trouble sleeping, people must visit the doctor,” Dr Maurya said.