Allergies are a growing problem worldwide. Almost 40% of western populations suffer from allergies, and the problem is increasing by 20-50% each decade.
Exposure to a variety of substances, which may not cause any reaction in the majority of individuals, can cause sensitised people to sneeze, cough, itch, wheeze, have runny eyes and nose, and rashes. The substances causing these reactions are called allergens, and commonly include house dust mites, pet dander, pollen and fungal spores.
Allergens stimulate the body to produce antibodies, which attach to special cells called mast cells. Subsequent exposure to allergens triggers these mast cells to release a range of chemicals including histamine, which causes inflammation. To exert their effect, allergens have to get inside the body. The airways are the most accessible route of entry, which is why many allergic reactions cause problems in breathing.
Rhinitis is a condition that affects the eyes, nose and throat. It is caused by airborne allergens, which cause inflammation in the delicate linings of the nose, sinuses, airways and eyes. There are two kinds of rhinitis, allergic and non-allergic.
Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or can occur through out the year (perennial). The most common allergens include dust mite allergen, pollen, mould spores and animal dander. The incidence of allergic rhinitis is estimated to be as high as 40% of the population in developed countries.
Non-allergic rhinitis may involve a variety of causes including structural changes in the airways such as nasal polyps. It can be affected by temperature, atmospheric changes, smoke, and other irritants.
Symptoms of both types of rhinitis include sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itchy nose, eyes, throat and ears.
While rhinitis is non-life threatening, it has a high impact upon the quality of life of sufferers. Treatments involve medication, and avoidance of the allergens and triggers that cause the condition or make it worse.
ActivAllergy Mite-Alert is a simple, quick and cost effective test for house dust mite allergens helping allergy sufferers to accurately “see” the levels of the allergen present in their environment. By pinpointing these “hotspots” of high allergen content allergen avoidance methods can be applied more effectively with the minimum of effort.