Allergic Rhinitis (Sensitive Nose) Treatment in Singapore

Rhinitis (Sensitive Nose)

What is Rhinitis (Sensitive Nose)?

Many people often refer to their symptoms as “having sinus” when they have this condition. In reality, everybody has sinuses (Figure 1). They are a natural part of our facial anatomy, consisting of air-filled cavities that produce mucus draining into the nasal cavities. When the sinuses are blocked, they can be infected and have symptoms of sinusitis.

Illustration on the anatomy of the nose and sinuses.

However, symptoms such as frequent, clear, runny nose, nasal blockage, sneezing, and itchy eyes are typically due to rhinitis (sensitive nose), a condition marked by the inflammation of the nasal cavity. Predominantly, rhinitis is allergic, triggered by exposure to a substance known as allergens (most commonly House Dust Mites). In some cases, rhinitis is non-allergic and can be triggered by cigarette smoke, temperature changes, strong odours, hormonal changes, or dietary factors.

Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis

If you suspect you have allergic rhinitis, consulting an ENT specialist may be helpful. They may perform the diagnosis in the following manner:

  • Review of clinical history
  • Physical examination
  • Flexible nasoendoscopy to examine the nasal passages
  • Skin prick tests or blood tests to identify allergens, especially for allergic rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis (Sensitive Nose) Treatment Options

For those suffering from rhinitis, especially of the allergic variety, the doctor may recommend:

  • Avoidance of known allergens or triggers
  • Nasal steroid sprays (Figure 2) to reduce inflammation
  • Antihistamines to manage symptoms
  • Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) (Figure 3a-b) for desensitising to allergens

If symptoms persist, the doctor may recommend surgical options, such as Inferior Turbinate Hypertrophy.

Image of common nasal steroid sprays in Singapore.
Image of Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) being sprayed under the tongue.

Sinus Treatment

Sinusitis can be caused by various environmental factors and the state of your immune system, but not all sinus problems require treatment. For instance, viral or bacterial sinusitis, which are similar to the common cold or flu, may resolve within 7 to 10 days, while most acute sinusitis can be treated within 7 to 14 days with the appropriate sinus treatment. If your sinus symptoms last more than three months, it may be a chronic infection, and surgical intervention may be needed if it’s a severe condition.

There are many sinus treatment methods in Singapore that can be used to treat both acute and chronic sinus conditions. Individuals may recover with the following treatments if they suffer from an acute condition, but those experiencing mild chronic sinusitis may be given medications to manage symptoms.

Depending on the diagnosis and severity of your condition, the doctor may recommend the following sinus treatments:

  • Antihistamines: Alleviate allergy symptoms.
  • Antibiotics: Eliminate the infection and prevent further complications.
  • Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen: Relieve symptoms for mild conditions.
  • Nasal or Oral Corticosteroids: Address inflammation and reduce the amount of mucus.
  • Mucus Thinners: Inhaled medications that help to thin and loosen the mucus.
  • Decongestants: Provide relief for blocked or stuffy nose.
  • Sinus Rinse: A nasal flush that rinses out the nasal passage to relieve symptoms.
  • Immunotherapy: Allergy shots to help reduce the body’s allergy reaction.
  • Endoscopic Sinus Surgery: Remove polyps or mucus blocking your nasal passage.
  • Deviated Septum Surgery: Enlarge or adjust nasal walls to improve breathing.

You may also attempt specific sinus remedies at home that can help alleviate symptoms. However, it is advisable to seek proper medical intervention to better manage your condition. These home remedies include:

  • Placing a warm compress over your nose or forehead to relieve pressure.
  • Hydrating yourself with water to thin the mucus and reduce blockage.

What Causes a Blocked Nose?

Nasal congestion, or a blocked nose, is an uncomfortable, stuffy feeling you experience when you have the common cold, flu, or sinusitis. It can affect your breathing and make you feel tired. A blocked nose can be caused by anything that may irritate or cause inflammation to the nasal tissues. Potential causes include:

  • Acute or Chronic Sinusitis: Inflammation or infection of the sinus tissues.
  • Allergies: Dust, pollen, and pet dander can cause an allergic response and lead to the swelling of your nasal tissues.
  • Common Cold: A viral infection of your upper respiratory tract.
  • Deviated Septum: A condition in which the bone and cartilage that divides the nose is crooked.
  • Dry Air: Causes your nasal membranes to dry out and affects the consistency of your mucus.
  • Enlarged Adenoids: The swelling of lymph tissues in your upper airway that can cause congestion.
  • Influenza: A viral infection that infects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.
  • Nasal Polyps: Painless, soft growth inside your nose that can lead to congestion.

Suffering from a blocked nose may affect your quality of life and make it challenging to get on with the day. At times, nasal congestion that occurs at night may affect sleep quality. Read on to find out how to clear a blocked nose.

How to Clear a Blocked Nose?

Nasal congestion may be caused by a variety of factors, and there are multiple treatments or home remedies that can help relieve the symptoms and clear up the nasal passages. To clear a blocked nose, you are advised to keep your sinuses and nasal passages moist.

Here are some home remedies:

  • Use a humidifier or vaporiser to keep the indoor air moist.
  • Take long showers or breathe in steam from a pot of warm water.
  • Hydrate yourself with plenty of water to thin out your mucus.
  • Place a warm, wet towel over your face to relieve discomfort and open up your nasal passages. This is also a sinus treatment method you can do at home.
  • Keep your head elevated during sleep to make breathing more comfortable.

The doctor may also prescribe the following medication to help clear a blocked nose:

  • Decongestants: Reduces swelling in your nasal passages to help ease the stuffiness and pressure.
  • Antihistamines: If your blocked nose is caused by allergies, antihistamines can help relieve allergy symptoms.
  • Steroid Nasal Sprays: Anti-inflammatory medicines that you spray into your nose to reduce swelling and manage allergies.
  • Pain Relievers: Eases the pain caused by sinus pressure but does not clear up congestion.

When Should You See an ENT Specialist in Singapore?

  • Ear, Nose or Throat discomfort or concerns
  • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring
  • Symptoms affecting your daily life or sleep quality

Meet Our ENT Rhinitis Doctor

Dr Gan is an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist. He is renowned for his expertise and approach to addressing various ear, nose, and throat conditions, including snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). With a particular interest in treating nose and sinus conditions, Dr Gan employs suitable diagnostic approaches and strategies to help manage these issues. His approach to patient care is evident in the treatment methods aimed at improving the life quality of many in Singapore.

Common Ear Nose & Throat Conditions that We Treat

Allergy, Nose & SinusSnoring & OSAChildren’s ENTEar & BalanceThroat & VoiceHead & Neck
AllergiesSnoringSymptoms in childrenHearing issuesTonsilsEar, nose and throat overlaps
Sinus issuesObstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)Fever and irritabilityBalance problemsUpper oesophagusOral cavity to salivary glands
Nasal obstructionsLearning or speech delaysEar conditions affecting body balanceTrachea and larynx issuesThyroid, glands, muscles, nerves
Recurrent colds or fluConditions affecting food and air passageSkin and soft tissue conditions

Differences Between Sinus, Rhinitis and Sinusitis

Dr Gan provides a comprehensive management in a broad array of Ear, Nose and Throat as well as Head & Neck conditions. He has a special interest in treating various nose and sinus conditions including snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

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