Allergic rhinitis is the medical name for hay fever or allergies. Rhinitis is actually an inflammation of the nasal passages. So, allergic rhinitis is when you come in contact with something that causes the nasal passages to become inflamed. Millions of people deal with some form of allergic rhinitis symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that about 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children deal with allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Some people have one allergy while others have more than one. Some allergies are only triggered during certain times of the year. Others can occur at any time dependent on the allergens that trigger the allergic rhinitis. Some symptoms are generally the same, and others can be different depending on the individual. People may experience sneezing, a runny nose, itching nose, itching eyes, watery eyes or other symptoms.
Allergic rhinitis occurs when you encounter something that your immune system cannot handle. These allergens touch off an allergic reaction in your body. An allergen can come in many forms but generally, it attacks the nose. So, if you breathe in the allergen and a few minutes or even a few hours later you begin to experience symptoms, you know you have allergic rhinitis.
Allergic Rhinitis Symptoms
Many of the allergic rhinitis symptoms will involve your nose, eyes, throat, and ears. When your body detects a foreign object or the allergen, your immune system will immediately try to fight it off with antibodies. These antibodies begin to release chemicals like histamine that lead to symptoms associated with your allergies or hay fever. Here are some typical allergic rhinitis symptoms.
- Constant sneezing, especially in the mornings
- Runny nose
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Itchy throat
- Itchy nose
- Itchy ears
- Stuffy nose
- Sinus pain in the face
- Ear pressure
- Postnasal drip
- Loss of smell
- Hearing trouble
- Chronic cough
When people experience these symptoms depends on when they have contact with the allergens. Many people associate hay fever as being a seasonal condition. So, when pollen counts are elevated, they experience more hay fever symptoms. Key allergens for allergic rhinitis sufferers include pollen, mold, dust mites, animal dander, grass, flowers, weeds, and even roaches.
Other environmental irritants can make your symptoms worse such as air pollution, smoke or other overwhelming smells like perfumes or odors. Those who experience symptoms during seasonal changes like spring, summer, and fall have seasonal allergic rhinitis. However, a large number of people experience symptoms year-round because they are exposed to allergic triggers like pets or dust mites.
How to Treat Allergic Rhinitis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergic rhinitis but there are a number of treatments available, many at your local drug store. Perhaps the main treatment is to know which allergens trigger an allergic reaction and stay away from them. Again, there are a number of over-the-counter medications that can treat the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Medicines like antihistamines and decongestants can be effective.
If you find that those do not work, sometimes your doctor can prescribe prescription-strength medications that may be more effective. Corticosteroids are often prescribed by doctors as well. However, they can only be used for a limited amount of time due to their side effects. There is also the option of getting allergy shots in which works similar to immunizations in that the doctor injects a small amount of an allergen so that your body can adjust to it and create an immune reaction.
As long as you don’t mind the shots, this can be an effective treatment as well. It can, however, involve getting shots on a regular basis for several years.
#AllergicRhinitis – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology
Managing Allergic Rhinitis
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your exposure to allergens that trigger your allergic rhinitis. Here are a few suggestions:
- Limit outdoor activity when the pollen and mold counts are high. Most television weather forecasts include information on pollen and mold activity during seasonal times. You can monitor those reports. Also, pollen counts peak in the early morning between 5 and 10 o’clock.
- Close your home and car windows during peak pollen and mold activity. It may cost you a little more to run the air conditioning, but it will save you the misery of dealing with your runny nose and other allergy symptoms.
- If dust triggers your allergies, use a mask while you clean. You should also keep your bedding washed frequently to reduce dust mites.
- Keep humidity low in your home. Dust mites multiply in areas of high humidity.
- Hardwood and other flooring are better than carpeting for controlling dust mites.
- Mop and vacuum often. Use with a vacuum cleaner that uses a HEPA filter.