Allergic Rhinitis Guide | Lifelab Testing

Allergic Rhinitis Guide

Last Updated: 5th December 2022 · Written by Felicia Oladipo

Allergic rhinitis is believed to be the most common allergic disease in the world, affecting approximately 10-30% of the adult population {1}.

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

The condition is categorised by inflammation of the upper airways, including nasal obstruction and itching, sneezing and rhinorrhea. These symptoms are caused by inhaling allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mould, animal dander or wood dust. Considering allergic rhinitis already affects so many of us, and prevalence rates are increasing, we’ve put together a guide to learn more about the disorder. Firstly, we’ll talk about how there are different types of allergic rhinitis.

Perennial Allergic Rhinitis

Perennial allergic rhinitis is experienced across the year, not pertaining to a certain month or season. This perennial version of the disorder is often caused by house dust mites or pets who are a constant in the house.

Another Name for Allergic Rhinitis

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis is often called hay fever.

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

Seasonal allergies occur when pollen counts are high, depending on the type of pollen that causes your rhinitis. Tree pollen is common in early spring, grass pollen is more typical of late spring and summer, whereas ragweed pollen is common in autumn. There are myths about hayfever, including that hay and flowers are the causes but this is not the case.

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

A woman with a headache
A woman having a headache

The main symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Sneezing.
  • Itchy or blocked nose.
  • A cough.
  • An itchy mouth.
  • Streaming or itchy eyes.
  • Headaches and sinus pain.

Allergic rhinitis has been described as a world health problem since these symptoms can impact absenteeism from work or school, decreased productivity, less sleep, and more doctors appointments. It has even been suggested that the condition causes low job productivity globally even more than high blood pressure and diabetes {2}.

Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma

Allergic rhinitis and asthma frequently co-exist and have a close relationship, wherein at least three out of four people with asthma also have allergic rhinitis. The two conditions share a similar pathology, but influence the upper and lower airways differently.

Health professionals use the ‘Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma’ (ARIA) guidelines to determine the influence of allergic rhinitis on your life in order to tailor treatment plans. They will look at the duration of symptoms (intermittent or persistent) as well as their severity (mild, moderate or severe).

Allergic Rhinitis vs Covid

Although the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and covid-19 can overlap, you should still be able to determine whether you are experiencing allergies or covid. Coronavirus symptoms are more likely to include a dry cough and fever, as well as shortness of breath. If you are unsure, we recommend you take a covid test.

Allergic Rhinitis Treatments

There are different ways to manage your allergic rhinitis to calm symptoms from impacting your day-to-day life.

Nasal Spray for Allergic Rhinitis

Corticosteroid nasal sprays can effectively reduce inflammation in the nose which reduces itching and sneezing. Nasal sprays are available in local pharmacies, or you may be able to have stronger versions prescribed for you based on your doctor’s recommendation.

Antihistamine for Allergic Rhinitis

Antihistamines can effectively control itching and sneezing in those who have mild allergic rhinitis. However, this treatment does not seem as useful in tackling a blocked nose. For individuals with seasonal or situational allergic rhinitis, antihistamines can be used as a preventative measure prior to coming into contact with the allergen, for example if you are allergic to dogs you may take an antihistamine pill before going to someone’s house where there is a dog.

Immunotherapy for Allergic Rhinitis

Immunotherapy is possible for individuals who have moderately severe allergic rhinitis which is impacting their quality of life. Specific immunotherapy involves administering increasing doses of an allergen in order to induce tolerance to it over time. This treatment can prevent you from experiencing allergic symptoms in the future as well as reduce your risk of developing asthma as a result of rhinitis.

Allergic Rhinitis Test

If you take an at home allergy test, you can be notified whether you are allergic to environmental factors such as bahia grass, birch, or cladosporium herbarum, as well as cat and dog dander. It is beneficial to understand your body so that you can be prepared when you come into contact with these allergens again.

References

  1. https://rjme.ro/RJME/resources/files/630222413419.pdf
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/1648-9144/55/11/712/htm

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