SINGAPORE - Sneezing constantly and having to wipe a blocked or runny nose certainly cause discomfort and inconvenience.
But what is worse is that allergic rhinitis, commonly called a sensitive nose, does not merely make patients feel uncomfortable in their waking hours.
Research has found that the condition, which is triggered by a substance that the body is sensitive to, can affect adversely the quality of sleep and ability to concentrate for both adults and children.
For instance, a study in Spain, published in July last year in Clinical And Experimental Allergy, found that more than half of the 2,275 patients in the study - most of whom had moderate to severe allergic rhinitis - had poor sleep quality.
More than one in five of them were excessively sleepy in the daytime.
A blocked nose was one of the main reasons for poor sleep quality, said the researchers at the Hospital Clinico-Instituto de Investigacion Sanitaria Aragon.
In fact, among children, allergic rhinitis has been shown to alter attention span to the point of it becoming a disorder.
In a study in Taiwan, published in November 2011 in Allergy And Asthma Proceedings, researchers at the Taichung Veterans General Hospital analysed data on 226,550 children aged below 18 years old. They found a substantially increased rate of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children with allergic rhinitis.
Suffering from a sensitive nose could sabotage children's school performance and adults' work productivity. It is not to be sniffed at.
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