October 20, 2016Print : Karachi
At least 27.92 percent of the total population of Sindh was affected by Allergic Rhinitis (AR) or hay fever. This was the highest ratio of sufferers in the entire country, health experts revealed at a press briefing, on Wednesday.
The briefing was held, to mark the start of the allergy season, by ENT specialists Dr Umar Farooq and Dr Kalimullah Thaheem.
According to their statistics, 24.62 percent of Pakistan’s total population was affected by the allergy.
Also a professor at the Dow University of Health Sciences, Dr Farooq observed that hay fever occurred when one breathed in something they were allergic to, resulting in inflammation on the inside of the nose.
“Allergic rhinitis is clinically defined as a symptomatic disorder of the nose and is characterised by nasal symptoms including rhinorrhoea (runny nose), sneezing, nasal blockage and/or itching in the nose. It is often associated with ocular symptoms.”
He claimed that the allergy was a serious health problem owing to its ratio of prevalence and impact on a patient’s social life, school and professional productivity.
The symptoms of AR were, however, not limited to physical effects on the nose and eyes but also included adverse consequences to the quality of life, including psychological wellbeing and the ability to learn and process cognitive input.
While highlighting the plight of patients, he said the allergy reduced learning ability in children, adding, that around 88 percent of paediatric AR patients suffered from sleep disorders. The allergy often precedes the development of asthma, he added.
“Allergic rhinitis is triggered by allergens which can be found both outdoors and indoors. When the allergy is caused by outdoor allergens, for example mould or trees — it is often referred to as seasonal allergy, or ‘hay fever’.”
It may also be triggered by allergens found inside ones home, such as animal dander, indoor mould, or house dust mites, Dr Farooq observed.
He added that the treatment for the disease had to be made effective enough to improve a patient’s wellbeing or quality of life.
Dr Kalimullah Thaheem, seasoned ENT consultant at a private hospital, stated that several medical interventions including non-sedating antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids and immunotherapy had been approved as effective treatment methods.
He mentioned that the body dealing with the allergy, Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA), recommended AR to be treated through intranasal glucocorticosteroids in adults, and through intranasal corticosteroids in children.
“The AR represents a global health problem. The allergy has in both adults and children shown to lead to substantial impairment of quality of life.”