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Allergic Rhinitis: Symptoms, Treatment, and Home Remedies

Allergic Rhinitis: Symptoms, Treatment, and Home Remedies

What is allergic rhinitis?

An allergen is a harmless substance that triggers an allergic reaction. Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an allergic response to specific allergens. Pollen is the most common allergen in seasonal allergic rhinitis. 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. Allergic rhinitis may affect between 10-and 30 percent of the global population.

Allergy rhinitis

Common signs of allergic rhinitis are:

  • sneezing
  • a runny nose
  • a stuffy nose
  • an itchy nose
  • coughing
  • a sore or scratchy throat
  • itchy eyes
  • watery eyes
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • frequent headaches
  • eczema-type symptoms, such as having extremely dry, itchy skin that can blister and weep
  • hives
  • 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.


Allergic Rhinitis


What causes allergic rhinitis?

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
  • mold

Pollen can cause problems at certain times of the year. The spring is when pollen from trees and flowers is most common. In the summer and autumn, weeds and grasses produce more pollen.

What types of allergic rhinitis?

There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal and permanent. Seasonal allergies are most common in the spring and autumn seasons and usually arise due to exposure to pollen and other 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. Atopic eczema or asthma can increase your chances of developing allergic rhinitis.

This condition can be triggered by external factors, such as:

  • cigarette smoke
  • Chemicals
  • Cold temperatures
  • Humidity
  • Wind
  • air pollution
  • Hairspray
  • Parfums
  • Colognes
  • wood smoke
  • Fumes


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.

A skin prick test is one of the most common. To see how your body reacts, your doctor may place several substances on your skin. Usually, a small red bump appears if you’re allergic to a substance.

A blood test, or radioallergosorbent test (RAST), is also common. The RAST is a test that measures your antibody levels to specific allergens.


Allergic Rhinitis


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.

Antihistamines

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)
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • desloratadine (Clarinex)
  • loratadine (Claritin)
  • levocetirizine (Xyzal)
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)

Shop for OTC antihistamines.

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.

Decongestants

You can use decongestants over a short period, usually no longer than three days, to relieve a stuffy nose and sinus pressure. 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, a history of stroke, anxiety, sleep disorder, high blood pressure, or bladder problems.

Shop for decongestants.


Nasal sprays and eye drops

Eye drops and nasal sprays can help relieve itchiness and other allergy-related symptoms for a short time. 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. They are available both over the counter and by prescription.

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.

Immunotherapy

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 a 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.

Sublingual immunotherapy

SLIT involves placing a tablet containing a mixture of several allergens under your tongue. The treatment works in the same way as allergy shots, but it does not require injections. Currently, it is effective for treating rhinitis and asthma allergies caused by grass, tree pollen, cat dander, 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 of the mouth. In rare cases, SLIT treatments can cause anaphylaxis. To determine if you have allergies to SLIT, talk to your doctor. This method will be directed by your doctor.


Home remedies

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.

You can control your allergies indoors by using a dehumidifier, or a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA). You can avoid dust mite allergies by washing your sheets and blankets with hot water at 130°F (54.4°C). You can also try adding a HEPA filter to 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.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)Trusted Source, some of the treatments below may be helpful in managing seasonal allergies, but more research is still needed. Before you try any of these, talk to your doctor.

  • acupuncture
  • nasal saline irrigation
  • butterbur supplements
  • honey (choose raw, organic varieties)
  • Probiotics

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 or 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 cases, antihistamines can cause gastrointestinal, urinary, and circulatory effects.


Allergic rhinitis 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. Children usually develop watery, bloodshot eyes, which is called allergic conjunctivitis. If you notice wheezing or shortness of breath in addition to other symptoms, your child may have also developed asthma.

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.

Outlook

Your condition will determine the outcome of your treatment. You can usually manage seasonal allergic rhinitis with medication. Long-term treatment is required for severe cases.

Preventing Allergies

It is important to control your allergy symptoms before they become severe. These are preventive steps for specific allergens that you are sensitive to.

Pollen

AAAAI recommends that you start medications before you experience seasonal allergic reactions. If you are sensitive to tree pollen in spring, it is a good idea to begin taking antihistamines as soon as possible to prevent an allergic reaction. Avoid being outdoors during peak pollen hours and make sure you take a quick shower after going outside. It is important to keep your windows shut during allergy season. Also, avoid drying any laundry on the line.

Dust mites

You can reduce dust mite exposure by taking steps to ensure your home is not conducive to mite growth. Instead of sweeping, wet mop hard floors. Carpets should be vacuumed with a HEPA filter. Hard surfaces should be brushed regularly and bedding should be washed in hot water every week. To reduce dust mite exposure, you can use allergen-blocking pillows or cases while you sleep.

Pet dander

You should avoid contact with animals you are allergic to. If you can’t do this, ensure that all surfaces are cleaned frequently. After touching pets, wash your hands immediately and keep the furry friends of your bed. After visiting homes with pets, you’ll want to wash your clothing.

Avoid allergies with these tips

  1. Avoid being outdoors when the pollen count is high.
  2. Avoid going outside in the early morning.
  3. After being outdoors, take a shower immediately.
  4. During allergy season, keep your doors and windows closed as much as you can.
  5. When you are doing yard work, keep your nose and mouth covered.
  6. Avoid raking leaves and mowing the lawn.
  7. To minimize dog dander, bathe your dog at the very least twice a week.
  8. If you are concerned about dust mites, remove carpeting from your bedroom.
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