Posted on may 13, 2011, Friday
KUALA LUMPUR: Runny nose, violent and repetitive sneezing, nose block and feeling itchy at nose or eyes.
Sounds familiar? A ‘yes’ for any of the above could be a sign of Allergic Rhinitis.
Simply said, an appointment with doctor is the wisest thing to do.
“It is possible that one out of three Malaysians suffers some form of allergy with a high portion occurring in younger age group,” said Dr Amir Hamzah Abdul Latiff, President of Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology (MSAI).
Often many without a clear understanding uses the term ‘allergy’ in many ways. in short, it is a form of hypersensitive disorder of the immune system as reaction to an environmental substance, known as allergens.
The body reaction towards an allergen may appear in many forms.
In most cases the symptoms appears in three forms: gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin.
Common allergic reactions include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma attacks and food allergies.
Those who suffer from allergies may have their symptoms prevalence in different frequency according to their age.
A child between 0-5 years old are more likely to have gastrointestinal and skin symptoms.
Meanwhile respiratory symptom will start to develop as the sufferer reaches three years old and rapidly develops in within the first two years.
After five years old it will gradually become the most common sign of allergy.
Allergic reactions start when the sufferer makes contact with an allergen.
Among globally known allergens include house dust mites, grass, tree, weed pollen, pets, cockroaches, molds and dust.
In response, sufferer’s body will activate a type of white blood cell known as mast cell, which later triggers inflammatory response.
Physically the effect can be seen where sufferer starts to sneeze continuously, runny nose, and feeling itchy in the nose and eyes.
Situation can get even worse if no action is taken.
After several hours sufferer may have nasal obstruction, swollen eyes, tiredness, bad temper and sleep disturbance.
“Many Malaysians do not realise that allergic have specific triggers, or the impact that allergies have on their day-to-day activities and performance,” added Abdul Latiff.
Researchers from University of Malaya who conducted a general screening on 136 respondents at a shopping complex in Kuala Lumpur in 2010 found some interesting data.
Although 79.1 per cent of respondents were prevalence to rhinitis, not even half of them seek for treatment.
To be precise – only 28.3 per cent of them! this screening also found that main aggravators are dust, weather and food. Dust is found to be the biggest culprit impacting 80.2 per cent of respondents.
These are followed by weather factor by 77.4 per cent and 29.2 per cent are prone to food related allergens.
Sufferers quality of life was badly impacted too.
Near to 53 per cent of sufferers faces sleep disturbance, 41.5 per cent have work disturbance and 31.1 per cent of them found their social life are disturbed.
Pook Mei Foong, 30, who started to realise that she can easily catch runny nose and itchy eyes when going to cold places like Cameron Highlands since she was five, agreed that there were more to life than just scratching eyes.
She said, “Besides runny nose and itchy eyes, I can easily become grumpy and moody when allergy symptom arises.
“I cannot enjoy life like others do, but now I feel fantastic!” Mei Foong decided to see a doctor when she was 28 years old only to discover that solution to her problem were simply some daily tablet and nasalspray.
“Allergy can’t be totally cured but with doctor’s help it can be controlled. People around me says that I ‘glow’ now,” she added.
“While allergies are rarely life-threatening, the impact on the lives of sufferers ranges from physical symptoms to emotional distress from the many limitation it imposes on their lives,” said Dr Jeevanan Jahendran, executive committee member, Malaysian Society of Otorhinolaryngologists Head and Neck Surgeons (MSO-HNS).
For the lack of awareness on the matter has lead many allergy sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated.
To address this issue, MSO-HNS and MSAI supported by industry partner GlaxosmithKline (GSK) embarks on a public campaign called ‘Live Life Allergy Free’.
This campaign is dedicated to efforts to increase public awareness on allergies, highlighting the correlation between nose, skin and asthma ailments.
Through 500 clinics and hospitals and 200 pharmacies nationwide, the campaign is hoped to be a platform to spread knowledge among the public in recognising the specific type of allergy they are in so that it can be detected and treated early.
To assist in this effort, Allergy Self Test (AST) kit was launched as a tool to better help the public to assess themselves against respiration allergy. It is a set of questionnaires that takes less than three minutes to answer.
“Allergy sufferers now have access to a self assessment tool,” said Elamaran K Sundram, Business Unit Director, Enterprise Brands, Channel Marketing and Business Analytics, GSK.
Should a person found positive to allergy after taking the test, it is advised that the patient consult their healthcare practi-tioner for further advice, intervention strategies or proper treatment.
The public can obtain the AST at participating clinics and pharmacies nationwide.
It is also available online at MSAI website (www.allergymsai.org). – Bernama
<a href="http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=129994tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=129994Fri, 13 May 2011 07:12:26 GMT 00:00″>Know about your allergy and act!
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