Perennial Allergic Rhinitis – Perennial Nasal Allergy
MANY PEOPLE complain of “chronic sinus disease,” “chronic catarrh,” “frequent colds,” coryza, or “postnasal drip,” and “bad breath.” These may be perennial nasal allergy or “year-round hay fever.” This condition may be clearly recognized as an allergy if there is constant or periodic nasal blocking, associated with a watery mucous nasal discharge and thicker postnasal drip. These signs are frequently preceded by bouts of sneezing. If the discharge becomes thick and yellow, an infection has been added to the allergy. If these conditions are neglected, a cough develops, with congestion in the chest, wheezing and shortness of breath. Often, headaches over the forehead occur and may be very painful.
The nasal obstruction is frequently the most distressing symptom of perennial allergic rhinitis, since it is frequently associated with mouth-breathing and the uncomfortable feelings of the mouth and throat caused by the excessive dryness. It is made worse often by exposure to fumes, dusts, changes in barometric pressure, temperature and humidity.
On examination, we find swollen, pale mucous linings over the interior nasal bones, with a layer of thin, watery mucus. If the condition is neglected, yellow pus is often noted, as well as small fleshy growths known as polyps. Removing the polyps alone, without caring for the underlying allergy, is useless, a sad lesson many sufferers learn after frequent nasal operations. The polyps will return unless the allergic cause is removed.
If the nasal allergy is not corrected, the sinuses often become involved. This occurs because of the swelling in the nose, with the impairment of normal function and the resulting superimposed infection. Treatment in addition to allergic management must be aimed at clearing up the infection by frequent washing of the sinuses or putting a permanent window into the sinuses. A study of the nasal secretions will help reveal the amount of allergy, or of infection present. These studies and others aimed at finding the responsible allergens and removing them when possible, or receiving injections to lessen the person’s sensitivity, will, in the greatest majority, markedly improve or “cure” the individual. The patients who have been carefully studied and treated emphasize the points made in this discussion.
Sneezing from Pencil Wood Shavings – Perennial Nasal Allergy
Bill H., employed in the accounting department of a large retailing firm, had no sooner seated himself at his desk when the mucous membranes of his nose became irritated. First there was one sneeze, then another and another. There must have been seven or eight in a row, and his co-workers began their customary ridiculing. Bill made no attempt to conceal his resentment.
“There must be some flowers in here,” he said. “I can smell them and, besides, my nose doesn’t lie.”
Everyone defied him to find even one little flower in the entire office. It was the middle of December, and the people just weren’t plucking flowers from any garden.
This business of sneezing had grown to nuisance proportions, and Bill H. decided not to tolerate it any longer. He reasoned that he must have “rose fever,” and he decided to find out for certain. He went to see the physician who was already treating him for hay fever and went through a series of tests, but there was nothing to indicate that flowers were causing his trouble.
Poor Bill! It was up to him to get more information for the doctor, so he returned to the office. All afternoon, he sat dejected at his desk trying to figure out what smelled like flowers that was not flowers.
Days later, Bill, toying with a lead pencil, happened to place it within smelling distance of his nose. “It’s this pencil!”
“What’s that?” joked someone. “Are there some flowers hidden inside the pencil?”
“Just about,” replied Bill as he reached for the telephone and called the doctor. “Doctor, I think I have a clue,” he said enthusiastically.
“I believe it’s the shavings in the pencil sharpener around the office that have been giving me trouble,” he explained.
Bill presented his reasons, and agreed to bring in a box of the shavings so that the doctor could make a testing extract. Bill was right. When tested, he showed a strong reaction.
The next question was what to do? Bill couldn’t just quit his job because of a few pencil shavings. Besides, he would have the same trouble in any office.
The next morning, he went in to see the manager of the accounting department, told of his experiences of sneezing, smelling flowers that weren’t there, and eventually finding the cause of the reaction.
“I suppose you’ll think it’s crazy,” Bill said. “But, after all, it’s for the good of the company to eliminate the cause of my sneezing.”
“You’re right,” said the manager. “You would probably do better work if you didn’t spend so much time sneezing, but what can we do? We can’t stop using pencils.”
“W-e-e-ell,” began Bill hesitantly, “would you consider using mechanical ones?”
The manager sat pensively for a moment. “That isn’t as foolish as it sounds, Bill. I’ll have the purchasing agent look into the matter.”
“But, in the meantime—” Bill paused.
“In the meantime,” repeated the executive, “we’ll remove the pencil sharpener next to your desk and instruct the night custodian to empty all sharpeners in the department every night so that there won’t be any occasion for anyone to empty them during the day. That ought to keep pencil dust to a minimum.”
“Yes, sir, it ought to,” agreed Bill.
And it did. Bill’s sneezing attacks came less and less often, and then, when the department inaugurated the exclusive use of mechanical pencils, Bill’s troubles were practically over. Yes, his work became more efficient also. Written By: Jack A. Rudolph, M.D. & Burton M. Rudolph. M.D., Continue Reading, Allergic Bronchitis