Allergic rhinitis is more common than you think, and you might have been dealing with the symptoms for years already. Most people with this condition don't even know they have it, attributing their watery eyes, sneezing fits, and runny nose to hay fever or a cold.
If you're one of the many who suffer from allergic rhinitis, it's important to be informed about the condition and what you can do to treat it. Here are some things you should know about allergic rhinitis.
What Is Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal passages that occurs when the body overreacts to allergens in the air. These allergens can be anything from pollen and dust to pet dander and mold spores.
When you breathe in these allergens, your body releases chemicals that cause the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. These symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, itchiness, and congestion. In some cases, people may also experience headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.
When Do People Experience Symptoms?
Allergic rhinitis can be either seasonal or year-round. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is usually caused by pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. This type of allergic rhinitis typically occurs in the spring, summer, and fall.
Year-round allergic rhinitis is usually caused by allergens found inside, such as pet dander, and mold spores. People who have year-round allergic rhinitis may experience symptoms all year long, although they may be worse at certain times of the year.
How Is Allergic Rhinitis Diagnosed?
If you think you may have allergic rhinitis, it's important to see your doctor. A family health clinic is a great place to start.
To diagnose allergic rhinitis, the doctor will take a complete medical history and ask about your symptoms. They may also do a physical exam, including a thorough examination of your nose and throat.
In some cases, the doctor may also recommend skin or blood tests. Skin tests involve exposing the skin to small amounts of allergens and observing the reaction. Blood tests can measure the levels of antibodies in the blood.
What Are The Treatment Options?
There are a variety of treatment options available for allergic rhinitis. The best treatment option for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and whether they are seasonal or year-round.
Treatment options include allergy shots, oral medication, nasal sprays, and lifestyle changes. Allergy shots are a long-term treatment option that can be very effective in reducing symptoms.
If you think you have allergic rhinitis, a family health clinic can help. Make an appointment with a family health clinic to learn more.