Definition of Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever is caused by certain allergens that aggravate an allergic reaction. Histamines released by the body may lead to allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis can be perennial or seasonal.
Causes of Allergic Rhinitis
Pollens mainly trigger allergic rhinitis. This may be more prominent during certain periods of the year. Some of the common factors that cause allergic rhinitis are:
- Animal dander or saliva
Allergic rhinitis may also develop if the family has a history of allergies.
Other factors that may trigger the condition are as follows:
- Cigarette smoke
- Cold temperatures
- Air pollution
- Perfumes and colognes
- Wood smoke
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are:
- Excessive sneezing
- Runny, itchy or stuffy nose
- Frequent headaches
- Sore throat
- Dark under-eye circles
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Dry or itchy skin
- Excessive fatigue
Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis
A physical examination is done in case the person has minor allergies. However, the doctor may recommend certain tests to determine the severity of the condition.
Skin prick test is commonly used by the doctor to determine the condition. Here, an allergen is injected into the skin and later checked for any allergic reactions.
Radioallergosorbent test (RAST) is a blood test, which is also commonly used to measure the amount of immunoglobin E (IgE) present in the blood.
Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis
Antihistamines are most effective to prevent the condition by stopping the formation of histamines in the body. It is always better to consult a doctor, especially if the patient is taking other medications or has other medical conditions.
Decongestants are also prescribed to get relief from a stuffy nose or sinus related problems. These medicines should only be taken after doctor’s consultation only, especially if the patient has issues of high blood pressure or genitourinary disease.
Eye Drops and Nasal Sprays also give temporary relief from itchiness. However, the doctors may prescribe it for short-term only.
Immunotherapy is recommended for patients suffering from severe allergies. The doctor may give you allergy shots that will reduce the allergen reactions over time. It can be taken along with other medications as well.