Allergic Rhinitis: What is It, Common Symptoms and Treatment

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Learn about allergic rhinitis, its common symptoms and treatments.

Many people suffer from allergic rhinitis without them knowing exactly that they are actually suffering from it. Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction which occurs when your immune system overreacts to substances that you have consciously or unconsciously inhaled, such as pollen. There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and perennial allergic rhinitis, which manifests year-round. Hay fever is caused by outdoor allergens while perennial allergic rhinitis is brought about by indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet feathers and hair, and mold.

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are like that of a cold, but they are not caused by virus as a cold is. Inhaling an allergen makes your immune system jump into action. It frees substances called IgEs into the nasal passages, together with inflammatory chemicals such as histamines. Your nose, sinuses, or eyes may become congested and itchy. Up to now, experts are still aren't sure what causes the immune system to overreact when in contact with an allergen.

There is no exact cure for allergic rhinitis. The best you can possibly do is to avoid the things that you think causes your allergies. You may need to clean up your house more often to get rid of allergens and you may also need to stay indoors if you can and have to, when pollen counts are presumably high.

If you do not have another health problem, say, asthma, you may take over-the-counter medicines such as anti-histamine to treat your symptoms at home. If you do have another problem, ask your doctor first about possible relief and measures you can take to alleviate the symptoms of the allergy. Other individuals who should also talk to their doctor before starting self-treatment include older people, children, and pregnant or breast-feeding women.

If your allergies are starting to bother you a lot and you just cannot avoid the things you are allergic to that easily, you can decide with the help of your doctor if you should be given allergy shots (immunotherapy) to help control allergic rhinitis manifestations. But for those allergy shots to work at its best, you first need to know what exactly you are allergic to so you can work out which allergy shot is best for you. Though finding the best treatment for your allergy may take a little time, it’s always worth the effort as it is you who would directly benefit from it.

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Joiada Caneza-Cruzate

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