Do you know why and how your nose could feel itching and sensitive? The substance that causes itching and sensitive of your nose is called allergen. These include pollen, mold, dust mites, certain foods, latex, animal dander, and others. These allergens sensitize the nasal mucosal membrane through a sensitization process, which typically involves a few types of cell in our body, such as macrophage, lymphocyte and mast cell. In the beginning of the sensitization, allergens penetrate through the mucosal surface in our nasal passage. The easiness of the allergens penetrate through the mucosal surface is due to the deficiency of IgA antibodies, which main function is eliminating micro organisms that adhere to the mucosal surface. Usually, patients, who allergic to the allergen, have lower level of IgA antibodies.
The second step of the sensitization process is scavenging of the allergen by the macrophage cell. Macrophage cell is the large scavenger cell in the blood, whose function is eating up antigen, which is from outside of our body. During the scavenging process, macrophage cells also pass information about the invasion of foreign antigen to the lymphocyte cell, which involves several enzymes. Lymphocytes are stimulated by this information and multiplied to transform into plasma cells, which would synthesize IgE antibodies. IgE antibodies move to the mast and basophil cells around the eye, mouth and nose via tissue fluid and blood where they bind to the mast and basophil cells. When an allergen forms a bridge between two IgE molecules on the mast or basophil cells surface, histamine, which is a primary chemical mediator, will be released. This chemical will stimulate exocrine glands, contract smooth muscles in the bronchi, dilate blood vessels and increase their permeability and cause itch. Second chemical; prostaglandin, which is a secondary mediator, is synthesized in all types of cell and this chemical will cause inflammation around the mucosal surface inside the nostril.
How to avoid nasal allergy? We knew that nasal allergy is caused by the allergen; therefore, the first method to avoid nasal allergy is eliminating the allergen in our house or room. People who are allergic to house dust may not have allergy to the road or field dust. This is because house dust containing house dust mite, which is the major allergic component. Mites like to live in mattresses and box spring that containing cotton fillers or kapok. So, we should replace this thing to foam rubber encased with durable impervious material. Besides, we also should replace eiderdown, blankets and pillows with the one that are less hospitable to mites. In addition, dust-collecting upholstered furniture and carpets should not keep in the room because it accumulates dust mites. To keep the house dust mites low in our house, we should vacuum-clean our house frequently.
Allergy condition for the people who are allergic to animal dander can improve quickly if they remove their animal from the house. However, if the particular person's allergy condition is too critical, his nose may still feel itching for a period of some few months after removal of the animal. This is due to the animal dander that has left in the furniture and carpets. If the allergy continues for a longer period of time, it may due to an indirect exposure to hidden allergenic substances or other allergens. If what has been mentioned above still could not improve your allergy condition or it is inconvenient for you to carry out what has been mentioned above, you may go through immunotherapy.
The second allergen that could cause nasal allergy is pollen. Pollen is released from the tree or grass seasonally. Therefore, it is quite difficult to avoid this allergen even though you keep yourself indoor in the city flat or house with the window and door closed. People with hay fever should not live in the dark flat or house with window and door closed during these best months of the year. They can just go through a short period of systemic steroid treatment, which could allow them to live an almost normal life during this short period of pollen season. Pollen season is in the late spring and early summer in the seasonal country but it is almost 10 months long in the non-seasonal country. To avoid pollen outdoor, I think the only way is wearing filtration mask or make sure you have taken antihistamine medicine before going out. However, indoor pollen could be reduced by installing electrostatic air cleaner, HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters, air conditioning, dehumidifier, humidifier and ionizer (negative ion generator).
Electrostatic air cleaner is also called as electrostatic precipitator. It consists a fan, which is used to draw the air that containing particles to pass through electrical charged plate where the particle is trapped. The tedious job for this equipment is that you need to frequently clean the plate that traps the particles because when the particles accumulate too much on the plate, it may cause its trapping efficiency drops.
HEPA filtration can remove particles that as fine as 0.3 microns. Therefore, this equipment can remove most of the particulate matter in the room not only pollen but also including bacteria, dust mite, molds, yeast and spores, which are also allergens to nasal allergy. HEPA filtration is very efficient to relieve hay fever and asthma symptoms. It can relieve the hay fever and asthma symptoms within ten minutes to half an hour after switching on the equipment. When the potassium permanganate and charcoal is combined with the HEPA filter, it can clear the big particulate matter like dust and pollen as well as chemical odor. This is because potassium permanganate is a strong oxidizing agent, which could decompose most of the dust and organic substances; whereas, charcoal could adsorb most of the volatile organic substances.
Air conditioning is also one of equipment that can reduce pollen count in a closed room air to around zero. Usually, pollen level in an unfiltered room with window open is about one-third the outdoor level. With this level, it is high enough to aggravate symptoms in anyone with pollen allergy. Similar to electrostatic air cleaner, air conditioning's coils and filters need to be cleaned frequently to prevent mold contamination. Besides, air conditioning's cooling temperature should not be set to too low because air that too cold can aggravate respiratory allergy.
It is better for them who have asthma or nasal allergy and other respiratory allergies to breathe moist air in order that their nose and bronchial passages will not dry up. There is not a problem for people who live in equatorial and tropical country because humidity level in these countries is very high. However, this level may be too high and it can promote growth of house dust mites, molds and fungi and tends to carry more dust and pollen. The suitable level of humidity in the house is about 35 to 50 percent. With this level, people won't feel uncomfortable and it also could prevent proliferation of allergen around the house. Therefore, people who live in the seasonal countries need a humidifier in winter and a dehumidifier in the summer; whereas, people who live in the non seasonal countries need a dehumidifier to reduce their house moisture level to prevent growing of molds, dust mites and fungi. Humidifier and dehumidifier need to be clean frequently with stiff brush.
Ionizer or negative ion generator is a machine that generates negative ion into the air. Particles surface is positively charged; therefore, when negative ion is attracted to the particles surface, its positive charges are electrically neutralized by these negative ions. Particles with neutralized surface are tend to deposit on the wall or floor. With this equipment, particles in the air can be reduced with the condition that the air in the room is not blown up by a fan. Therefore, in order to make the house free of dust particles, wall, floor, carpet and furniture have to be vacuum-cleaned frequently.
Prevention is one of the ways to temporarily relieve nasal allergy symptoms. However, based on cost, there are other ways that are cheaper to cure nasal allergy without any side effect.
By Alexander Chong
Author of "How to cure your incurable nasal allergy without using any synthetic drugs, herbs and expensive devices".