An allergen, which is an otherwise harmless substance that triggers an allergic reaction, is an otherwise harmless substance. Allergic rhinitis (or hay fever) is an allergic reaction to certain allergens. Pollen , the most common allergen in seasonal allergic rhinoitis, is . These allergy symptoms are associated with seasonal changes.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, nearly 8 percent of Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis. An allergic rhinitis may affect between 10-30 percent of the global population.
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The following are common symptoms of allergic rhinoitis:
- a runny nose
- a stuffy nose
- itchy nose
- A scratchy or sore throat
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
- frequent headaches
- Eczema-type symptoms include extremely dry, itchy, and sometimes blistering skin.
- Excessive fatigue
Usually, you will feel at least one of these symptoms after being exposed to an allergen. Recurrent headaches or fatigue may be a sign of long-term allergen exposure. Hay fever is not a sign of it.
Some people only experience mild symptoms. This is most likely when you are exposed to allergens in high quantities. Some people have symptoms throughout the year. If your symptoms persist for longer than two weeks or don’t improve, talk to your doctor.
What causes allergic rhinoitis?
Histamine is a natural chemical that protects your body against allergens. Allergy rhinitis can be caused by this chemical. Symptoms include a runny nose and itchy eyes.
Other common allergens than tree pollen include:
- Grass pollen
- dust mites
- Animal dander is old skin.
- Cat saliva
Pollen can cause problems at certain times of year. The spring is when pollens from trees and flowers are most common. In the summer and autumn, weeds and grasses produce more pollen.
What types of allergic rhinitis?
There are two types of allergic rhinoitis: seasonal, and perennial. Seasonal allergies are most common in the spring and autumn seasons and usually respond to pollen and other outdoor allergens. Perennial allergies may occur all year, or any time of the year, as a result of indoor allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and other substances.
Risk factors of allergic rhinitis
Although allergies can affect anyone, you are more likely to get allergic rhinitis from someone with a history of allergy. Your risk of developing allergic rhinitis can be increased by having asthma and atopic skin eczema.
This condition can be triggered by external factors, such as:
- cigarette smoke
- Cold temperatures
- air pollution
- wood smoke
What is the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis?
A physical exam is not necessary if you have minor allergies. Your doctor might perform some tests to determine the best treatment or prevention plan.
One of the most popular is the skin test. To see how your body reacts, your doctor may place several substances on your skin. If you are allergic to any substance, an small red bump will usually appear.
Another common test is the radioallergosorbent (RAST). The RAST is a test that measures your antibody levels to specific allergens.
Treatments to Allergic Rhinitis
There are many ways to treat allergic rhinitis. There are many options. These include medication, home remedies, and alternative medications. Before you try any new treatment for allergic rhinitis, talk to your doctor.
To treat allergies, you can use antihistamines. These medications work by stopping the body from producing histamine.
Some popular over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines include:
- fexofenadine (Allegra)
- desloratadine (Clarinex)
- loratadine (Claritin)
- levocetirizine (Xyzal)
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
Before you start a new medication, talk to your doctor. You should ensure that the new medication will not interfere with any other medications or medical conditions.
To relieve stuffy sinuses and pressure, you can use congestants for a brief period of time, typically no more than three days. You should not use them for longer than three days to relieve symptoms. OTC decongestants that are popular include:
- oxymetazoline (Afrin nasal spray)
- pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
- phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)
- Cetirizine and pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec D)
Before you use a decongestant, consult your doctor if you have a heart rhythm problem, history of stroke, anxiety, sleep disorder, high bloodpressure, or bladder problems.
Shop for decongestants.
Nasal sprays and eye drops
Nasal sprays and eye drops can be used to relieve itching and other allergy symptoms temporarily. You may have to stop using the product for a long time, however.
Overuse of certain eye drops or nose drops can cause rebound effects, just like decongestants.
Corticosteroids may be helpful in reducing inflammation and improving immune response. They do not have a rebound effect. As a long-term and effective way to manage allergies, steroids nasal sprays are often recommended. undefined
To ensure you are receiving the right medication for your allergy symptoms, consult your doctor before beginning any treatment regimen. Your doctor will also be able to help you decide which products are best for your long-term management.
If you have severe allergic reactions, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy (or allergy shots). This treatment plan can be used in combination with medication to manage your symptoms. These shots can reduce your immune response to certain allergens over time. These shots require long-term commitment to a treatment program.
A buildup phase is the first stage of an allergy shot regimen. This phase is where you will see your allergist once per week for a shot. It lasts for approximately three to six months.
You will need to visit your allergist at least once every two weeks during the maintenance phase. This should be done for three to five years. The maintenance phase may last for over a year before you notice any changes. It is possible for your allergy symptoms to disappear or diminish once you reach this point.
Some people may experience severe allergic reactions to the allergens in their shots. To ensure you don’t experience a life-threatening or severe allergic reaction, many allergists will ask you to wait at the office for between 30 and 45 minutes.
SLIT is the act of placing a tablet that contains a combination of allergens under your tongue. The treatment works in the same way as allergy shots, but it does not require injections. It is currently effective in treating rhinitis, allergy caused by grass, tree and cat pollen, dust mites, dust mites and ragweed. After a consultation with your doctor, you can start SLIT treatments at home, such as Oralair, for certain grass allergies. The doctor will give you your first dose of any SLIT. The medication is administered over a time period that your doctor has determined.
Side effects may include irritation of the throat and ears, as well as itching in your mouth. Anaphylaxis can occur in rare cases. To determine if you have allergies to SLIT, talk to your doctor. This method will be directed by your doctor.
Your allergens will determine which home remedies you can use. You can use an air conditioner to cool your windows if you are allergic to pollen or seasonal allergies. Add a filter that is designed to combat allergies if you can.
undefined You can control your allergies by washing your sheets and blankets with hot water at 130 degrees F (54.4 degrees C). You can also try adding a HEPA filter on your vacuum and vacuuming every other week. It can be beneficial to limit the amount of carpet in your home.
Alternative and complementary medicine
People with allergies are more likely to seek natural remedies to treat their symptoms. However, side effects can still occur, even though they may be considered natural. Alternative and complementary medicine are also options. These treatments have the disadvantage of not having sufficient evidence to support their safety or effectiveness. It may be difficult to know the right dose or reach it.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Trusted Source suggests that some of these treatments may help with seasonal allergies. However, more research is needed. Before you try any of these, talk to your doctor.
- nasal saline irrigation
- butterbur supplements
- honey (choose organic, raw varieties)
These alternative treatments can interact with medication and cause allergic reactions, even though they are made from plants and other natural substances. These alternative treatments should be used with caution. Before using them, consult your doctor.
The complications of allergic rhinitis
Unfortunately, allergic rhinitis cannot be prevented. To live a happy life with allergies, management and treatment are key. Hay fever can lead to the following complications:
- Inability to fall asleep due to symptoms that keep you awake at night
- Asthma symptoms can develop or get worse.
- Frequent ear infections
- sinusitis and frequent sinus infections
- Reduced productivity can lead to absences at work or school.
- Frequent headaches
Antihistamine side effects can cause complications. Drowsiness is the most common side effect. Other side effects include anxiety, headaches, and insomnia. In rare instances, antihistamines may cause gastrointestinal, urinary and circulatory problems.
Allergic rhinoitis in children
Allergy rhinitis can also occur in children, but it usually appears before age 10. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is when your child experiences cold-like symptoms every year.
Children experience the same symptoms as adults. The condition allergic conjunctivitis is characterized by watery eyes and bloodshot eyes. Your child could also have asthma if you notice wheezing and shortness of breath along with other symptoms.
Your doctor should be consulted if you suspect your child may have allergies. It is important to get the right diagnosis and treatment.
Keep your child indoors when the pollen count is high if they have severe seasonal allergies. It may be worth washing their sheets and clothes frequently during allergy season. Vacuuming often might also prove useful. There are many options to treat allergies in children. Even in small doses, side effects can occur with some medications. Before giving your child any allergy medication, it is important to consult your doctor.