often called allergies or hay fever, occurs when your
immune system overreacts to particles in the air that
you breathe—you are allergic to them. Your immune system attacks the particles
in your body, causing symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. The particles
allergens, which simply means they can cause an
People with allergies
usually have symptoms for many years. You may have symptoms often during the
year, or just at certain times. You also may get other problems such as
ear infections as a result of your allergies.
In spring, people rush out of doors. They jog. They stroll. They smell the
And ...They sneeze. Sometimes a lot.
People with spring allergies know the drill: The itchy, watery eyes, blocked
ears, and nasal congestion that can put a crimp in even the sunniest spring
“A lot of times you don’t sleep well at night,” says Giselle Mosnaim, MD,
professor of allergy and immunology at Rush University Medical Center in
Chicago. “And if you don’t sleep well at night, you can be tired and...
Over time, allergens may begin to affect you less, and your symptoms may
not be as severe as they had been.
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
most cases, when you have allergic rhinitis:
You sneeze again and again, especially after you wake up in the
You have a runny nose and
postnasal drip. The drainage from a runny nose caused
by allergies is usually clear and thin. But it may become thicker and cloudy or
yellowish if you get a nasal or sinus infection.
Your eyes are watery and itchy.
Your ears, nose, and throat are itchy.
Which allergens commonly cause allergic rhinitis?
You probably know that pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds cause
allergic rhinitis. Many people have allergies to
animal dander, cockroaches, and mold as well. Things
in the workplace, such as cereal grain, wood dust, chemicals, or lab animals,
can also cause allergic rhinitis.
If you are allergic to pollens,
you may have symptoms only at certain times of the year. If you are allergic to
dust mites and indoor allergens, you may have symptoms all the time.
How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?
To find out if
you have allergies, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine you.
Knowing what symptoms you have, when you get them, and what makes them worse or
better can help your doctor know whether you have allergies or another
If you have severe symptoms, you may need to have allergy
tests to find out what you are allergic to.
Your doctor may do a skin test. In this test your doctor puts a
small amount of an allergen into your skin to see if it causes an allergic
Your doctor may order lab tests. These tests look for
substances that put you at risk for allergies.
How is it treated?
There is no cure for allergic
rhinitis. One of the best things you can do is to avoid the things that cause
your allergies. You may need to clean your house often to get rid of dust,
animal dander, or molds. Or you may need to stay indoors when pollen counts are
Unless you have another health problem, such as asthma, you
may take over-the-counter medicines to treat your symptoms at home. If you do
have another problem, talk to your doctor first. Others who also should talk to
their doctor before starting self-treatment include older adults, children, and
women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
your allergies bother you a lot and you cannot avoid the things you are
allergic to, you and your doctor can decide if you should get allergy shots
(immunotherapy) to help control your symptoms. For
allergy shots to work, you need to know what you are allergic to.
Finding the treatment that works best for you may take a little
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this