Allergic rhinitis: Introduction
Allergic rhinitis is a common chronic respiratory condition marked by sneezing and a runny and itchy nose and eyes. Allergic rhinitis is caused by breathing in microscopic particles of specific allergens, airborne substances to which an individual is sensitive or allergic. This substance is called an allergen.
In most people, microscopic particles that are in the air, such as pollen, mold, dust mites, and animal dander, cause no problems. For people with allergic rhinitis, breathing in one or more of these substances triggers an abnormal reaction of the immune system.
Normally the immune system's function is to react to potentially dangerous substances that enter the body, such as bacteria and viruses. In people with allergic rhinitis, the immune system reacts to substances that are generally harmless, such as pollen, dust mites, and animal dander. This leads to a release of chemicals, including histamine, which cause inflammation, redness and swelling of tissues and the classic symptoms of allergic rhinitis. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is a common condition, affecting between 10% and 30% of all adults and as many as 40% of children, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Hayfever, also referred to as seasonal allergy, is a type of allergic rhinitis. In hayfever a person is allergic to specific plant pollens that are present during particular seasons.
The severity, symptoms, and triggers of allergic rhinitis vary between individuals. People who are more likely to develop allergic rhinitis include those with a family history of allergies, being born during pollen season, being male, and exposure to smoke during infancy.
Uncomplicated allergic rhinitis is generally not a serious condition, but it can trigger or accompany serious, even life-threatening, attacks of shortness of breath and wheezing in people who also have asthma. It can also go hand-in-hand with eczema, sinusitis, and otitis media.
A diagnosis of allergic rhinitis can often be made by taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam. For some people, allergy testing (skin patch testing) may be performed. In a patch test, small amounts of common allergens are applied methodically to the skin to determine what substances are triggering an allergic response, leading to the allergic rhinitis. A complete blood count (CBC) and other blood test may also be performed.
Because the symptoms of allergic rhinitis may be similar to other conditions, such as upper respiratory infection, a misdiagnosis is possible. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of allergic rhinitis.
There is currently no cure for allergic rhinitis, but the condition can be controlled with a good treatment plan individualized to a person's medical history, the specific substances to which a person reacts, and the frequency and severity of symptoms. Treatment includes preventive measures and oral medications to control symptoms. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of allergic rhinitis. ...more »
Allergic rhinitis: Allergic rhinitis involves inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, eustachian tubes, middle ear, sinuses, and pharynx.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Allergic rhinitis is available below.
Allergic rhinitis: Symptoms
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can vary greatly in intensity, frequency, and duration among individuals. Symptoms can be minimal and include mild itching and watering of the nose and eyes that goes away quickly after the allergen is no longer present.
Itching may be more moderate and include other areas, such as the mouth, skin and throat. Sneezing ...more symptoms »
Allergic rhinitis: Treatments
Allergic rhinitis is a chronic condition that is not curable. However, with a well integrated, medically monitored plan of care, symptoms can be effectively controlled, and people with allergic rhinitis can lead active, comfortable lives. A good treatment plan is individualized to a person's medical history, specific type of allergen, severity of symptoms, and other factors.
Treatment of ...more treatments »
Allergic rhinitis: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of allergic rhinitis can be missed or delayed because in some people, symptoms, such as itchy nose and watery eyes, may be mild, not last long, or occur infrequently. In addition, the symptoms of the allergic rhinitis can be similar and easily attributed to other diseases, such as upper respiratory infection, influenza, or sinusitis. To ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Allergic rhinitis
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symptoms of Allergic rhinitis
Treatments for Allergic rhinitis
- Environmental control measures and allergen avoidance
- Antiallergic medication(antihistamines)
- Topical decongestants
- Analgesics, antipyeretics
- more treatments...»
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Home Diagnostic Testing
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Allergic rhinitis: Complications
Review possible medical complications related to Allergic rhinitis:
- Asthma exacerbations
- It is also associated with otitis media, eustachian tube dysfunction, sinusitis, nasal polyps, allergic conjunctivitis, and atopic dermatitis
- Allergic rhinitis may also contribute to learning difficulties, sleep disorders, and fatigue
- more complications...»
Causes of Allergic rhinitis
- Exposure to pollens outdoors, mold spores, specific animals, or dust while cleaning the house
- Irritant triggers such as smoke, pollution, and strong smell
- more causes...»
Read more about causes of Allergic rhinitis
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The "cuff" around the arm to...read more »
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Latest Treatments for Allergic rhinitis
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Definitions of Allergic rhinitis:
Seasonal variety of allergic rhinitis, marked by acute conjunctivitis with lacrimation and itching; regarded as an allergic condition triggered by specific allergens.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Rhinitis caused by an allergic reaction
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
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