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Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

What Is Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, triggered by allergies, refers to nose and eye issues that occur at least once weekly. When only the nose is affected, it is termed allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, sinus or “sensitive nose”. When only the eyes are affected, it is termed allergic conjunctivitis.

The incidence of allergies, particularly among children, is on the rise globally, especially in developed countries. In Singapore, the prevalence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis children up to two years old is estimated to be as high as 42%.1

Source: 1PubMed
Causes of Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

Allergies generally stem from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This implies a frequtnce occurence of asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis or eczema in family members.

In Singapore, house dust mite allergens are the most common triggers for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. These microscopic organisms inhabit domestic environments. Other triggers include pollen, which is most common in temperate climates, and animal dander (a mix of dead skin cells and hair or feathers). Food is rarely a trigger for isolated symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

Children with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis commonly experience:

  • Sneezing
  • Itching of the nose
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Swelling or itching of the eyes
These symptoms tend to occur weekly, typically in the morning and evening, but can persist throughout the whole day.
In cases where nasal issues are pronounced, some children may develop a prolonged cough. It is important to note that while a child with asthma may exhibit a prolonged cough, a prolonged cough alone does not lead to the development of asthma. Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma can coexist, making it possible for a diagnosis of asthma in an individual with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.
Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

We provide comprehensive testing for children with allergies. This includes skin prick testing for outdoor allergens such as house dust mites, food and drugs. Blood tests can also be done.

At NUH, we offer comprehensive allergy testing for children. This includes skin prick testing for outdoor allergens such as house dust mites, food and drugs, along with blood tests.

Treatment generally involves avoidance and medication.
Antihistamines are safe and effective, even for very young children.
Topical steroids, such as nasal sprays, are also a safe option. They require regular usage over days to be effective, particularly for reducing nasal blockage or congestion.
Please consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis before administering any medication.
Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis
If your child is allergic to house dust mite allergens:
  • Wash bedding (sheets, pillowcases and covers) in hot water (60°C) weekly or fortnightly. 
  • Minimise the use of carpets, soft toys and thick curtains. 
  • Maintain a dust-free environment through damp cleaning. 
  • Vacuum only when your child is not at home and allow the air to settle for about two hours before they enter the room. 
  • Mite-proof mattresses and pillow covers can be helpful but are expensive.
If your child is allergic to pet allergens:
  • Avoidance of the animal is recommended. However, conduct a proper allergy test and consult with your doctor before taking any steps. 
  • If complete avoidance is not possible, reduce exposure by keeping the out of your child's bedroom.
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