What is it?
Allergic (uh-ler-jik) rhinitis (ri-ni-tis) is also called hay fever. It is when the inside of the nose gets stuffy, runny, red, or swollen. Some people only have allergic rhinitis at certain times of the year, like the spring or fall. This is called seasonal allergic rhinitis. Others may have it any time during the year, which is called nonseasonal allergic rhinitis. Treatment will make you feel better but will not cure the problem.
Allergic rhinitis is caused by things in the air or things that you touch, called allergens. Seasonal allergic rhinitis may be caused by pollen from ragweed, grasses, and trees. Nonseasonal allergic rhinitis may be caused by house dust, feathers, mold, and animals.
Signs and Symptoms:
You may sneeze a lot and have an itchy, runny, or stuffy nose. Your eyes may also be itchy, red, swollen, burning, or watery. Other signs are an itchy throat or coughing. You may also have plugged ears or decreased taste or smell. Sudden changes in temperature, tobacco smoke, and air pollution may make it worse.
For seasonal allergic rhinitis, exposure to allergens can be decreased by using an air conditioner at home and in your car. For nonseasonal allergic rhinitis, removing sources of allergens at work and home (carpets and air ducts for instance) can be helpful. The use of an air filtration or purification system can help seasonal and nonseasonal allergic rhinitis. Frequent nasal irrigation with a salt water solution to flush allergens from the lining of your nose can decrease symptoms.
Avoid things that make your symptoms worse. There are medicines that can prevent or decrease symptoms. The most commonly used medicines are antihistamines but nasal sprays and eye drops can also be used. If these medicines have not been helpful, steroids may be used. If your symptoms are very bad or have not improved with medicine, skin or blood testing may be done to learn if you have allergies.
Herbs and Supplements:
Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.
Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.
Talk to your caregiver if:
- You would like medicine to treat allergic rhinitis.
- Your symptoms have not gone away or improved by these self-help measures.
- You have pain or pressure in your sinuses.
- You have questions about what you have read in this document.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have a stiff neck or trouble thinking clearly.
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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Last Updated: 1/4/2011