The noise of snoring is generated by airflow trying to push its way through an obstructed airway. Whilst snoring in itself is not an illness it is often symptomatic of other health conditions one of which is an allergic reaction to an irritant.
Allergic rhinitis is a health condition in which the membrane lining the nose and throat becomes inflamed. It is usually triggered by an allergic reaction to an inhaled substance. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often called hayfever.
When the membrane lining the nasal passageways becomes inflamed it causes an obstruction to the airway and, as we have already established, it is just such a blockage that creates the symptom of snoring.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is usually due to grass, tree and other plant pollens and it occurs mainly during the spring and summer when pollen counts are high. Year long allergic rhinitis, or perennial allergic rhinitis as it is also known, is more usually caused by an allergy to house dust, dust mites, animal fur, feathers or mold spores.
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are very obvious:
Itchy, irritated nose
Blocked or runny nose
Red, watery, itchy eyes
Nosebleeds (not common)
If you are unable to identify the substance that is prompting the allergic reaction your doctor may carry out a skin prick test to determine just which substance is provoking such a reaction within your body.
However, it is not uncommon for the allergen to avoid identification which leaves sufferers unable to take action to avoid whatever is causing the problem.
If the allergen can be identified and then avoided symptoms usually subside very rapidly without further treatment. However, sometimes it is not so easy to avoid allergens in which case it may be necessary to take an anti-allergy drug.
Some anti-allergy drugs are available in the form of nasal sprays, often containing sodium cromoglicate, a substance that blocks the allergy. Corticosteroid drugs are often prescribed for hayfever although their effect is not instantaneous. Nasal sprays can be used as decongestants, but their long term use is not recommended. Oral ant-histamines may be used in conjunction with a decongestant to relieve inflammation and itching.
If allergic rhinitis is a persistent problem immunotherapy may be offered. This is a treatment that works to desensitize the immune system. Patients are injected with gradually increasing doses of the allergen to encourage the bodys own systems to adapt and accept the substance without reacting. The problem with immunotherapy is that it can take as long as four years for the treatment to be completed and it is not always successful.
If you feel your snoring problem is caused by allergic rhinitis there are steps you can take to help yourself. Avoid any furry animals; replace feather filled quilts and pillows with ones containing synthetic stuffing; cover your mattress with a mite proof membrane; remove soft furnishings where possible to avoid dust collecting; avoid areas of long grass or where the grass is being cut and have your car fitted with a pollen filter.
You should find that your snoring problem diminishes or even disappears altogether.
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