Singapore Media Watch

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Health bites: Allergic rhinitis Part 2

Who to treat ?

The modality of treatment depends on the severity and frequency of bothersome symptoms. While a family physician can manage most mild to moderate cases, severe allergic rhinitis consisting of daily intractable symptoms affecting quality of life for many years are usually referred to a ENT surgeon for further management.

Modalities of treatment

1. Allergen avoidance: avoid common allergens like dust-mites, pollen, a skin-prick test may be necessary to determine the exact allergen for recurrent symptoms.

2. Medical treatment: nasal sprays, anti-histamines.

3. Surgical treatment: radiofrequency ablation, septoplasty and inferior turbinectomy.

Skin prick test

The skin prick test is a common method of determining whether a person is sensitive to various allergens.

It can also determine the person's degree of sensitivity to the allergens. The test takes about 20 to 30 minutes to do anad the results are immediate.

The concept is to introduce small quantities of different allergens to the patient's skin (usually arm or back), to see which allergens cause swelling.

Swelling, and the degree of swelling, indicates an allergy to the substance, and gives an indication of the degree of sensitivity to the substance.

A week before the test, the patient must not take any anti-histamines (common in medicines for flu or colds), as these will bias the results.

For more information, please visit

The writer is a Family Physician in private practice. He prefers to remain anonymous. You can ask him questions by leaving a comment here.


The consumer health information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.


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