Allergic Rhinitis, commonly referred to as Hay Fever, is an allergic response caused by inhaled pollen, mold spores, dust mites, insect feces, animal dander and other allergens that are airborne. Symptoms can range from intermittent or persistent and mild to severe depending on its source.
Antihistamines taken either orally or nasally help to relieve sneezing and itching and help relieve runny nose symptoms, while decongestants work by shrinking the lining of nasal passages to ease congestion.
Rhinitis, or inflammation of the nasal passages, can be caused by many different factors. Allergic rhinitis is one type of rhinitis caused when your immune system responds to allergens like pollen, molds, pet dander and some food additives inhaled into your nose; such allergens include pollen, molds, pet dander chemicals and food additives that enter through inhalation into your nasal passages. When exposed to such allergens, your body releases histamine and other chemical mediators that trigger symptoms in your nose throat eyes ears ears mouth mouth skin as well as nose congestion itching rhinorrhea (watery nasal discharge).
Seasonal allergies can either occur year round or seasonaly, with pollen from plants and weeds often being the trigger. This condition is known as “hay fever”, though other common triggers include pet dander, dust mites, certain medications or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as smoke or strong odors that irritate.
An accurate diagnosis requires both a comprehensive history and physical exam to accurately identify a disorder. An examination should cover areas including face, throat, ears, nasal cavity, sinuses, posterior oropharynx (back of throat area), skin and chest. Furthermore, reviewing past medical histories to detect possible other conditions that cause similar symptoms like asthma or conjunctivitis is also crucial to proper diagnosis.
Antihistamines can provide temporary relief of symptoms caused by allergic reactions. By counteracting histamine’s irritating effects, antihistamines help alleviate allergic symptoms. There are dozens of antihistamine types available – some over-the-counter while others require a valid valid prescription; these medications may be taken orally in tablet form or nasal spray form or used as eye drops.
Allergen immunotherapy may be recommended if medications alone fail to relieve a person’s symptoms sufficiently. This treatment involves injecting small doses of allergens under your skin in order to assess any allergic responses that develop; usually done over multiple years it’s an excellent long-term remedy for allergic rhinitis.
Allergic Rhinitis symptoms can often resemble other medical issues or conditions. Therefore, always visit a health care provider for diagnosis. Your provider will examine your nose, ears, sinuses and nasal cavity for signs of swelling or blockage and for so-called “allergic shiners” (dark circles under your eyes). Finally, they’ll listen to your heart and lungs and take a detailed history of symptoms experienced.
Allergies cause your body to release chemicals when exposed to something your immune system thinks may be harmful, leading to symptoms like runny nose, itchy nose and watery eyes. There are two main categories of allergies: seasonal ones caused by pollen or mold spores released in spring, late summer or fall (commonly referred to as “hay fever”) while perennial allergies arise from dust mites, animal hair or dander or mold present all year-round – these factors being more likely culprits than seasonal ones.
Your body produces histamine when you have allergies, leading to runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, congestion in your nostrils and throat, thin and clear nasal discharge, unlike thick mucus associated with colds or flu.
If the doctor suspects that you have allergies, he or she will conduct allergy testing to identify what exactly you’re sensitive to. Allergy testing involves placing small amounts of various allergens onto your skin and monitoring if you react accordingly. A blood test known as radioallergosorbent assay (RAST) may also be conducted to measure antibodies specific for certain allergens.
Rhinitis and asthma go hand in hand. When you combine allergies with asthma, the inflammation in your nose may make breathing harder than usual and lead to wheezing or shortness of breath. By managing your allergies better you may help manage your asthma too; while allergic rhinitis symptoms may negatively impact the quality of sleep as well.
Allergies cause your immune system to overreact against substances that normally don’t bother most people, leading your body to release chemicals that trigger symptoms like sneezing, runny nose/nasal congestion/itchy eyes/throat/skin itching – as well as breathing difficulties for those living with asthma and may worsen existing symptoms. These chemicals also increase breathing problems – worsening existing asthmatic symptoms further still.
Your doctor can assist in selecting a treatment that’s tailored specifically for you. One way is to avoid anything that exacerbates your allergy symptoms – for instance staying inside when pollen counts are high and regularly washing sheets and pillowcases during allergy season; also installing an asthma/allergen friendly filter on your vacuum cleaner and covering pillows/mattresses/box springs with dust mite-proof covers may help significantly.
Your doctor can prescribe stronger medicines if the over-the-counter options don’t help, including nasal corticosteroids as nasal spray or drops to manage your symptoms effectively and keep sneezing, itchy eyes and nose under control. Antihistamines work by decreasing how much histamine your body produces – these may come in pill or liquid forms – while nasal corticosteroids may provide extra support; usually taken long term to keep symptoms under control.
Decongestants may also help treat rhinitis by helping reduce swelling in the nasal passages and anti-inflammatory agents which reduce inflammation. Your doctor may suggest allergy immunotherapy, which alters your immune response to allergens and can prevent or reduce allergy symptoms over time. This treatment typically entails taking a series of shots or sublingual immunotherapy pills daily that dissolve under your tongue – known as sublingual immunotherapy. Immunotherapy works over an extended period and is only applicable for specific forms of allergies. Adults experiencing moderate to severe rhinitis symptoms should consider immunotherapy; children or teens due to its potential increase in asthma risk in later life are usually not recommended for it, though immunotherapy could benefit some with specific forms of rhinitis; though this outcome is rare.
Normaly, our immune systems respond to harmful substances like bacteria and viruses by producing symptoms like runny nose and congestion, post-nasal drip, itchy eyes/ears, stuffiness and runny/congested nose. When our bodies react against something such as pollen allergens by overreacting by producing antibodies against it – which then release chemicals to cause swelling in our noses which trigger an overproduction of mucus production and increase. Unfortunately, allergic rhinitis often persists without proper medical intervention and treatment plans being undertaken by medical practitioners.
Allergic Rhinitis symptoms resemble those of colds and flus, yet usually last weeks longer and tend to be much more severe. Hay fever differs from other allergies in that its nasal discharge is thin and watery instead of thick and viscous like in other infections – further increasing discomfort for sufferers. Furthermore, itching symptoms tend to be much more prevalent with this form of allergy rhinitis than others.
Itching can become worse during hot weather and when exposed to pollen that triggers your allergies. Therefore, it’s wise to limit exposure as much as possible by staying indoors during pollen season, using air-conditioners where appropriate, and closing car windows when driving.
An allergist will be able to help identify which substances you’re allergic to by conducting various tests. A common way is putting small amounts of allergens onto your skin and seeing if their surrounding area swells up, an indicator that you might be sensitive. Another method involves collecting a blood sample from you and testing for antibodies which indicate an allergy.
Treating hay fever can be essential if it interferes with daily life. Over-the-counter medications may provide temporary relief, but if symptoms continue unabated by medication alone it’s wise to see an allergist for evaluation and management of allergy concerns. You should also discuss them with an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist surgeon). Together they’ll ensure you receive optimal treatment solutions tailored specifically to you.