Phototherapy is already a standard treatment for skin allergies, so why not try it for nasal allergy symptoms? Researchers in Hungary have developed a device called the Rhinolight to do just that. A You Tube video demonstrates the treatment. Record pollen counts this year have raised awareness of new and experimental treatments for allergies. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, affects millions of Americans.
Treatment with the Rhinolight takes only two to three minutes for each nostril. The light is a combination of 5 percent UV-B, 25 percent U-A and 70 percent visible. Researchers in Germany, Turkey, UK and Hungary report clinical studies demonstrating safety and effectiveness. The treatment is called rhinophototherapy in some articles. Symptoms improved by this therapy include sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, and itching of the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat. The peak airflow through the nose and amount of eosinophil cationic proteins were measured in lab tests.
The mechanism of action for rhinophototherapy is reported to include the following:
1. Reduction of the antigen presenting capacity of dendritic cells,
2. Induced apoptosis of immune cells,
3. Inhibited synthesis and release of pro-inflammatory mediators.
I have not yet found rhinophototherapy advertised by any American allergy clinics. But I notice that my nose always feels better in the summer than in the winter, no matter how much pollen is in the air. I'm thinking about how I can sunbathe out by my condo pool to maximize the light input to my nose.
I found 983 clinical trials on phototherapy at clinicaltrials.gov, of which 27 are related to allergy. Checking this website or ask your doctor for the latest news.
Brehmer D, “Endonasal phototherapy with Rhinolight for the treatment of allergic rhinitis”, Expert Rev Med Devices. 2010 Jan; 7(1): 21-6.
Cingi C et al, “The effects of phototherapy on quality of life in allergic rhinitis cases”, Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Dec; 266(12): 1903-8.
Man LX, “Complementary and alternative medicine for allergic rhinitis”, Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 Jun; 17(3): 226-31.