What is allergic rhinitis?


Know the basics

What is allergic rhinitis?

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal membranes. Allergic rhinitis is one of the types of rhinitis that occurs when you breathe in an allergen. This is an over-reaction of your body to response to allergens.

There are two type of allergic rhinitis: seasonal (a period of time in a year) and perennial (all the year).

How common is allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis is quite common. It can affect patients at any age. According to the statistics from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the percentage of people who may also have allergic rhinitis is between 10 to 30 of the world population. Most of them is allergic to pollen.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

The common symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Sneezing;
  • A runny nose;
  • An itchy nose, eyes, throat, skin, or any area;
  • Coughing;
  • A stuffy nose;
  • A sore or scratchy throat;
  • Watery eyes;
  • Dark circles under the eyes;
  • Frequent headaches;
  • Eczema-type symptoms, such as having extremely dry, itchy skin that often blisters;
  • Hives;
  • Excessive fatigue;
  • Headache;

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have:

  • You have severe symptoms;
  • Treatment that once worked for you no longer works;
  • Your symptoms do not respond to treatment;

Know the causes

What causes allergic rhinitis?

When you breathe in an allergen, your immune system releases histamine – a natural chemical responsible for protecting body from the outside disastrous factors. This chemical is the reason that make symptoms appear, causing allergic rhinitis.

The common allergens include:

  • Pollen;
  • Grass;
  • Dust;
  • Mold;
  • Animal dander;
  • Cigarette smoke;
  • Perfume.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for allergic rhinitis?

There are many risk factors that may make allergic rhinitis worse, such as:

  • Chemicals;
  • Cold temperatures;
  • Humidity;
  • Wind;
  • Air pollution;
  • Hairspray;
  • Colognes;
  • Wood smoke;
  • Fumes.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?

First of all, the doctor may ask you about the symptoms to justify your health condition, seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis. After that, a skin testing is performed by applying several substances on your skin. The doctor can know the cause of your allergic rhinitis if red small bumps appear on your skin.

In case that you can not have a skin test, your doctor will ask you to do a blood test, also known as radioallergosorbent test (RAST). By testing the amount of immunoglobulin E antibodies to particular allergens in your blood, RAST can measure the levels of allergy-related substances.

How is allergic rhinitis  treated?


Medications can be prescribed to reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, the doctor can prescribe you:

  • Antihistamines: this is the most common solution for allergic rhinitis. They work by stop histamines to be produced. Antihistamines are taken by mouth or nasal sprays. Some kind of antihistamines can can cause sleepiness.
  • Decongestants: your nasal stuffiness can be improved   with decongestants, but notice not to use decongestants for more than 3 days.
  • Nasal corticosteroids sprays: they are effective to treat allergic rhinitis.

If you are using the other kinds of medications,  you need to discuss with your doctor before taking medicines for allergic rhinitis.

Allergy shots

If your condition is severe, the doctor may recommend you to take allergy shots (immunotherapy). This treatment includes regular shots of the allergens you have gotten, until your symptoms are controlled. Medicines are injected into your body.

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).

This treatment is similar to allergy shots, but the medicine is put under your tongue. Possible side effects include itching in the mouth or ear and throat irritation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage allergic rhinitis?

To prevent allergic rhinitis from turning back, you should avoid the allergens that cause allergic rhinitis. For example, instead of opening the windows that having pollen, wind, dust; you may try using an air condition.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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