Patients with allergic rhinitis experience inflammation of the nose, specifically of the lining of the nose, and occasionally of the sinus cavities. Common symptoms of allergic rhinitis include congestion, sneezing, runny nose, nasal obstruction, and watery eyes. The symptoms are very similar to chronic rhinosinusitis, but a key distinction is that mucus is usually clear and watery, whereas chronic rhinosinusitis mucus is usually thick and discolored.
Many allergies are seasonal, and only affect patients at certain times of year. Common seasonal allergens include pollen, trees, grasses, and ragweed.
Patients with perennial allergies experience symptoms all year long. Common perennial allergens include dust mites, mold, pets, and cockroaches.
Physicians usually diagnose their patients with allergic rhinitis based on a collection of certain symptoms that suggest the condition. The diagnosis can be confirmed by allergy testing.
Patients with allergic rhinitis can be treated with medications such as nasal steroid sprays, topical or oral antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, and immunotherapy (allergy shots).
However, identifying and reducing exposure to the allergen is often the best treatment. Suggested interventions include dust mite encases for mattresses, eliminating rugs, keeping windows closed during pollen season, and avoiding pets.
Treatment for allergic rhinitis is based on the patient’s preference and how symptoms are controlled with various interventions.
For more information on allergic rhinitis, please speak with your physician.