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Discover the different types of rhinitis you could be suffering from and how to best alleviate the symptoms.

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis is often referred to as allergies or hay fever.  The condition occurs when the immune system overreacts to particles in the air being breathed into the nasal passages and lungs.

The immune system will attack the particles in a person’s body and it results in symptoms like coughing, sneezing and a runny nose.

The particles responsible for allergic rhinitis are called allergens, which mean they cause an allergic reaction.

What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

People who have allergies will usually have symptoms for a long period of time.  The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis include the following:

  • Itchy throat, eyes and ears
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Repeated sneezing
  • Postnasal drip
  • Drainage from the eyes and nose

What are the most common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis?

When someone has allergic rhinitis, it can be caused by a variety of different allergens.  Some of the most common substances that cause an allergic response include:

  • Ragweed
  • Mold
  • Grass
  • Animal dander
  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Smoke

What are the risk factors associated with allergic rhinitis?

The risk factors associated with allergic rhinitis are factors which do not directly cause the issue, but may be associated with the condition in some way.  Having some risk factors for allergic rhinitis means a person’s chances of getting the condition is much higher than average, but it is not a definite certainty it will occur.  Some of the risk factors associated with allergic rhinitis include; chemicals, wind, pollution, cold temperatures, humidity, hairspray, fumes and wood smoke.

How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?

Minor allergies can be diagnosed through only a physical examination. However, a physician may recommend specialized tests to help uncover the reasons behind a person’s allergies and to decide upon the most effective treatment.

Skin pricking is one of the most common ways of diagnosing allergies.  During this particular test, a doctor will usually put a variety of different substances on a person’s skin to see how the body reacts to each one.

Usually, if a person is allergic to a substance, it will result in small red dots on the skin.

Another way of diagnosing an allergy is through a blood test called a RAST test.  The test is done to measure the amount of immunoglobulin antibodies to particular allergens are present in a person’s blood.  Allergic rhinitis can be classified as perennial or seasonal, meaning it can happen year round or only at certain times of the year.

Can allergic rhinitis cause any secondary health problems?

There have been some complications associated with allergic rhinitis and these include the following:

  • Ear infections
  • Recurrent sore throats
  • Sinusitis
  • Headaches
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Alteration in sleep patterns
  • Some children may experience altered facial growth and orthodontic issues
  • Plugged ears
  • Asthma
  • Postnasal drip
  • Hearing loss
  • Ear pain
  • Postnasal drip
  • Fever
  • Thick, discolored mucus and drainage
  • Stuffy nose

Allergic rhinitis can deeply affect someone’s quality of life, which is why it is important to seek medical treatment to alleviate or improve the symptoms.

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