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Allergic Rhinitis

Patients with allergic rhinitis experience inflammation of the nose due to allergies. 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.

Symptoms

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 allergic mucus is usually clear and watery, whereas chronic rhinosinusitis mucus is usually thick and discolored.

Diagnosis

Physicians often make a diagnosis based on a collection of certain symptoms that suggest the condition. The diagnosis is generally confirmed with an allergy test.

Treatment

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 encasing mattresses and pillows (to decrease dust mite exposure), eliminating rugs, keeping windows closed during pollen season, and avoiding pets.

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