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.
If you've been living with allergies, you probably know the obvious stuff by now -- don't take in stray cats, don't hang around in dusty attics, don't inhale deeply in smoking lounges. But that might not be enough. There could be hidden allergy triggers and irritants all around you that you don't know about. "Hidden allergens and irritants are a huge problem for people with allergies," says Hugh H. Windom, MD, an associate clinical professor of immunology at the University of South Florida. "The...
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.