What is allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis, also referred to as “hay fever” affects as many as 40 million Americans which is roughly one out of every six individuals. This disease is more common in the pediatric population. The average allergic rhinitis patient is symptomatic for five months in a year.
Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory disease. This inflammation results in a swollen nasal lining that produces fluid and mucus. This inflamed tissue is also hyper-reactive to a variety of stimuli.
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
- mucus production
- complications include sinusitis, triggering of asthma, and development of nasal polyps
How is it treated?
- Environmental controls – the purpose is to decrease exposure to allergens such as dust mites, animal dander, mold and pollen
- Medicine – using medicines help to treat the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and the inflammation that produces these symptoms. Symptomatic medications include antihistamines, steroids, decongestants and leukotriene inhibitors. Antihistamines effectively treat sneezing, itching and mucus production. Decongestants will reduce nasal congestion. Nasal steroids are preventative/anti-inflammatory medications that must be used every day to be effective. They do not help eliminate the acute symptoms of allergic rhinitis but will slowly decrease the inflammation that exists in the nasal passages.
- Immunotherapy – allergy injections help the immune system develop tolerance to things which an individual is allergic too. It is time consuming but is a very effective way of permanently improving allergies. This treatment is best for people who have multiple allergies, are unresponsive to medications or on too many medicines, or who have interference with normal activities due to allergies.