"La Clínica has been the first Spanish center to incorporate the microarray technique as an aid to diagnosis, which accurately reveals the patient's level of awareness".
DR. GABRIEL GASTAMINZA LASARTE
DIRECTOR. ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
What is allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is the inflammation of the nasal mucosa and the symptoms are usually those typical of a cold, with nasal itching, sneezing, mucus and nasal congestion.
These symptoms, which in principle can be thought of as lacking in severity, if sustained over time, produce considerable discomfort.
In addition, they are almost always accompanied by conjunctivitis and very often influence the development of bronchial asthma. Many studies show that rhinitis affects daily life more than bronchial asthma.
The Clínica Universidad de Navarra was the first center in Spain to incorporate the technique of diagnosis by microarrays, technology, capable of performing an allergological screening in the presence of a large number of agents in a very short time.
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What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
The characteristics of allergic rhinitis are: itchy nose and eyes, significant watery nasal discharge, stuffy nose, frequent sneezing.
These symptoms are prolonged in time, are not accompanied by fever or general malaise and occur at a certain time of year (spring, autumn).
It is characteristic of allergic rhinitis a sudden beginning that yields completely with antihistamines or by avoiding contact with the allergen (clear example would be that person allergic to mites that when opening old books or files, or shaking a mattress begins to sneeze, etc. yielding almost completely the symptoms when leaving to the street).
The most common symptoms are:
- Itchy nose and eyes.
- Nasal secretion.
- Nasal tamponade.
Do you have any of these symptoms?
You may have allergic rhinitis
What are the causes of allergic rhinitis?
In a very high percentage of patients, rhinitis is caused by allergy to some substance that is inhaled: dust mites, various pollens, fungi, animal epithelia or substances handled at work.
Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or continuous. Seasonal rhinitis is caused by pollen. It usually appears in childhood and its degree of affectation varies according to the pollen concentration.
There is a low percentage, especially in patients who have appeared in adulthood, in which having identical symptoms, no sensitivity to any allergen can be demonstrated. The cause is unknown.
Differences between colds and allergic rhinitis
The characteristics of allergic rhinitis are: itchy nose and eyes, significant watery nasal discharge, stuffy nose, frequent sneezing. These symptoms are prolonged in time, are not accompanied by fever or general malaise, occur at a certain time of year (spring, autumn).
Above all, it is characteristic of allergic rhinitis a sudden onset that yields completely with antihistamines or by avoiding contact with the allergen (a clear example would be that person allergic to mites who on opening old books or files, or shaking a mattress begins to sneeze, etc., almost completely yielding the symptoms on going out into the street).
A cold, on the contrary, is presented with nasal congestion, without itching, the watery secretion of the first days becomes mucus, lasts from 3 to 10 days, and is usually accompanied by fever and discomfort or sore throat.
How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of allergic rhinitis is made using a very simple skin test: drops containing a known amount of the allergen to which we may be sensitive are applied to the skin of the arm, these drops are passed through with a small lancet until they pierce the skin and the reaction is observed after 15-20 minutes. The basis of this technique is to reproduce in the skin the reaction that we present in other parts of the body.
It is also possible to carry out blood tests, so that in a more precise way we can quantify and demonstrate the presence of specific antibodies against that allergen.
The molecular diagnosis of allergy by means of microarrays constitutes a diagnostic complement to skin tests and other in vitro diagnostic techniques.
In some cases, the patient is spared the discomfort of skin tests against a high number of allergens and it is possible to differentiate between sensitization to different proteins, recombinant or purified natural, which may be present in plant foods and pollens, in mites and seafood or in birds and eggs, etc.
How is allergic rhinitis treated?
The comprehensive treatment of allergic rhinitis is based on
- Avoiding the allergen, patient education is important at this point to try to minimize symptoms.
- The symptomatic pharmacological treatment.
- Specific immunotherapy, which consists of the periodic administration of an extract to which the patient is allergic, for a period of 3 to 5 years, so that the degree of the symptoms suffered by the patient is reduced.
Where do we treat it?
IN NAVARRA AND MADRID
Department of Allergology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra
The Department of Allergy and Immunology of the Clinic is part of the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network, composed of the 25 best departments of Allergy in Europe, chosen for their scientific excellence, multidisciplinary work, teaching and international activities.
We have the most advanced diagnostic techniques, we are at the forefront of research and we collaborate with the best experts. We have more than 50 years of experience in the field.
What diseases do we treat?
Why at the Clinica?
- More than 50 years of experience.
- Pioneers in the technique of molecular diagnosis by microarray.
- Nursing specialized in allergic diseases and their care.