Allergic Rhinitis

Seasonal Allergies and Perennial Allergies

Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for allergy affecting the mucous membrane of the nose. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often called hay fever while year-round nasal allergy is called perennial allergic rhinitis. People with allergic rhinitis often think they have “sinus trouble.” When no specific allergy can be found, but nose symptoms are present, the condition is called vasomotor rhinitis. Most people develop allergic rhinitis before age 30. An estimated 13 million Americans suffer from hay fever—primarily due to ragweed pollen allergy.

Common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching

Symptoms also associated with allergic rhinitis but not so common are:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Lose senses of smell, taste, and hearing
  • Fatigue

Many times, allergic rhinitis is diagnosed as a common cold because the symptoms are similar. If your symptoms repeatedly occur throughout the year or at the same time every year, you may have an allergy.

Persons with allergic rhinitis often have dark circles under their eyes. To relieve an itching nose, children especially may develop the habit of pushing the nose up with the palm of the hand. After a few years, this can cause a crease (called an “allergic crease”) to appear across the nose. Also, the mid part of the nose may broaden from the pressure of swollen tissue underneath. The mouth may be open continually so the person can breathe better. Children may develop a variety of other mannerisms which parents find annoying but which are caused by the allergy.

What Causes Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis usually results from allergy to a variety of things including pollen, dust, mold, and food. The nose is especially reactive because it contains many cells filled with histamine, which become sensitized and release the histamine upon contact with an allergen.

Diagnosing Allergic Rhinitis

An allergist is a pediatric physician and/or internal medicine physician who is specifically trained to diagnose and treat patients who have allergies and asthma. Once an allergist has taken a medical history and then an allergy skin test is completed, they can determine if patients have seasonal allergies or if the symptoms are non-allergic.

Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis

Once an allergy is determined, an allergist will develop a treatment plan for each patient. Allergies are often treated with a three-tier approach, avoidance, medication, and immunotherapy. Patients who can avoid the trigger of their allergies or if the usual doses of allergy medications can control their symptoms may not need immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, also called allergy shots, have been proven effective against inhalant allergies and stinging insect allergies and may be recommended if the patient’s allergies are not under control.

Don’t suffer from untreated allergies. Schedule an appointment today with one of our board-certified allergists, and move towards a clearer tomorrow.