Suffering from nose or nasal allergies is no fun. They can be annoying, persistent and above all, ruin the quality of your life. Plus, in this day and age of the COVID era, fear and misunderstanding can happen if someone sees you constantly wiping your runny nose with a tissue, particularly if you are in the public area.
First things first, do note that this article is written from my own personal experience. That means the content of this article is never intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition or even serve as a substitute for professional medical advice. So, if you have any questions about your medical issue, please consult your doctor or healthcare professional.
What Is Nasal Allergies?
Otherwise known as allergic rhinitis, nasal allergies involved the inflammation of the inner nose triggered by an allergen. The allergen in question can be dust, mould, pollen, environmental elements or pet. The latter includes everything from a pet’s dander to skin flakes. Depending on your condition, you may suffer from seasonal or perennial nasal allergies.
What Are The Common Symptoms?
When the nasal tissue starts to swell, you may find your nose feeling itchy or stuffy. Among the common nasal allergies symptoms that most sufferers are forced to endure include:
- Runny nose (extra nasal discharge typically in a clear, watery-like fluid that drips out of your nose)
- Stuffy nose (nasal congestion that may cause you hard to breathe)
- Watery eyes
- Sore throat
- Postnasal drip (extra mucus that runs down the back of your nose and throat)
There is another type of nasal allergies-like symptom called nonallergic rhinitis. According to Mayo Clinic, it happens “when blood vessels in your nose expand and fill the nasal lining with blood and fluid”. Similar to nasal allergies, those who suffer nonallergic rhinitis may end up with the following conditions. And this includes the likes of runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing. Among the list of triggers that lead to nonallergic rhinitis include:
- Certain irritants, smoke, fumes or odours
- Weather changes
- Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics, pain relievers)
- Certain foods (e.g. hot/spicy foods, alcoholic beverages)
- Hormone changes/imbalance
- Physical & emotional stress
Living With Nasal Allergy
For years, I have suffered from a nasal allergy and the experience is certainly unpleasant. It all started when I used to work in an office as an accounting assistant. The office was quite old and I guess all the exposure to the accumulated dust mites and mould had somewhat triggered my nasal allergy. Sneezing and runny nose began to happen on and off and I wasn’t that serious at the time.
Unfortunately, my nasal allergy got progressively worse as time went by. Not to mention my subsequent job switch working in a printing company, where I have to deal with the strong smell of solvent ink used for buntings and banners only aggravate the symptom. Stress and lack of sleep were among the causes too as I often need to work overtime.
I have gone to different clinics whenever I couldn’t get my nasal allergy (read: runny nose) under control. Doctors would often prescribe me medications in the form of white tablets, which help to minimise the effect of histamine in the body. Histamine, of course, refers to the chemical in the body that can produce a runny nose and sneezing. And while it did work to stop my nose from running, it didn’t actually cure my nasal allergy. In other words, the medication that I took all this while was more of masking my underlying symptoms.
Relying On Over-The-Counter Medications
After I went into freelancing, seeing a doctor on a regular basis wasn’t a sustainable thing to do. Not especially on a long-term basis, given the increasing price of medications and consultation fees imposed by most (private) clinics.
So, I resorted to taking Clarinase (as recommended by one of my doctors in the past), which cost around RM 15-20 per strip, depending on the pharmacy. For the uninitiated, Clarinase consists of white-coloured round tablets, where they have loratadine as one of the active ingredients. This particular ingredient acts as an antihistamine to relieve the likes of runny nose, sneezing and itchy nose.
Purchasing Clarinase in the pharmacy doesn’t require a doctor’s written prescription. The pharmacy typically stores them in the glass cabinet and even without a prescription, you still need to jot down your name and your address in the logbook. If I couldn’t get Clarinase, I would sometimes rely on Hurix’s 600 Fluaway or 900 Flucold capsules. They were more of over-the-counter herbal remedies traditionally used for alleviating cold, runny nose and nasal congestion.
Diet & Lifestyle Changes
I also realised that I couldn’t just depend on medications for the rest of my life. At least not solely relying on them. So, since last year, I took an initiative to make some serious diet and lifestyle changes. Part of the reasons had to do with the COVID-19 outbreak, which in turn, led to an ongoing pandemic that lingers until today. You could say that the pandemic is some sort of a wake-up call for me to be more mindful about my health.
Speaking of diet changes, I have since quit drinking alcohol as well as eating less fast food and even reduce my coffee consumption. Instead, I gradually switch to eating more foods and drinks that can help minimise my nasal allergy. Among them includes:
- Ginger tea (I often sweeten it with a teaspoon of honey or two)
- Tomatoes/cherry tomatoes
- Low-fat plain yoghurt
- Canned tuna
- Sardines in olive oil
- Warm honey
- Chrysanthemum tea
And when it comes to lifestyle changes, I would spare some time to go for a morning jog every weekend and learn how to reduce stress. For the latter, whenever I encounter personal or work-related stress, listening to music and watching my favourite movies do help minimise it every now and then.
Investing A Dehumidifier & An Air Purifier
I often read about these two appliances but never bother to consider buying either of them. Well, not until the pandemic that occurred last year and our country’s on-and-off lockdown means I have to spend more time inside my room working from home.
From there, I started to browse around the e-commerce websites for any suitable dehumidifier that fits my budget range. You see, what I learned is that dehumidifiers help to take moisture out of the air, which in turn, protect the surrounding area from thriving mould and dust mites. I ended up getting a mini dehumidifier from Samu Giken, which cost me less than RM 100. It may have been compact but it does reasonably well for my medium-sized room.
A few months later, I decided to purchase an air purifier online. It was Mi Air Purifier 3C, which turns out to be a well-reviewed yet affordably-priced model costing around RM 380+. It was undoubtedly a good investment as it helps to filter and purify my room’s indoor air. And I have to admit after half a year of using the air purifier and a mini dehumidifier inside my room, my nasal allergy has significantly reduced. In fact, there are a few times I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with a constant runny nose for several days in a row.