Allergic rhinitis is the set of symptoms that occurs when you breathe in substances you are allergic to. These substances are called allergens and are small proteins.
Seasonal (intermittent) allergic rhinitis (sometimes called hay fever or rose fever)—This occurs during times of the year when allergens are in the air, like spring, summer, and fall. The most common allergens are tree, grass, or weed pollens.
Perennial (persistent) allergic rhinitis—This condition is caused by allergens that may be present year round. These may include chemicals, dust, dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, or mold spores. Symptoms may be present any time of year.
An allergic reaction occurs when your body's immune system overreacts to an allergen. When you breathe in an allergen, cells in your nasal passages release a chemical called histamine. Histamine causes your nose to feel itchy. Histamine also causes swelling and mucus production in the nasal passages.
Site of Histamine Production
This area has swelling and increased mucus production after contact with an allergen.
Your doctor will try to find out which allergens you are allergic to. You may be referred to an allergist or immunologist. This is a doctor who specializes in allergies.
Tests may include:
Skin Prick Test
A tiny bit of an allergen is placed under the skin with a needle. The doctor watches to see if the skin in that area becomes red, raised, and itchy. This can be done for multiple allergens at the same time.
A small sample of blood is taken and tested for different allergens.
The most effective way to treat allergies is to avoid the allergen. Since this can sometimes be difficult or impossible, other treatments are available.
Treatments may include:
Your doctor may advise:
Note : Using a nasal spray may lead to rebound congestion.
Antihistamines to block the action of histamine
Decongestants to decrease congestion
With immunotherapy, small amounts of allergens are injected over weeks, months, or even years. The goal is to make your body's immune system less sensitive to those allergens. This treatment may be effective in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
may also be used. This type of treatment involves putting the allergic substances under the tongue, rather than using allergy shots.
Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated October 24, 2012. Accessed October 31, 2012.
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever). American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed August 18, 2014.
Rhinitis. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed August 18, 2014.
8/11/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Durham SR, Yang WH, Pedersen MR, et al. Sublingual immunotherapy with once-daily grass allergen tablets: a randomized controlled trial in seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;117:802-809.
8/27/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Kim JM, Lin SY, Suarez-Cuervo C, et al. Allergen-specific immunotherapy for pediatric asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2013 Jun;131(6):1155-67.
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