Allergic rhinitis overview
Allergic rhinitis, also called allergies or hay fever. Allergic rhinitis is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways, occurs when your immune system overreacts to particles in the air that you breathe
Your immune system attacks the particles in your body, causing symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. The particles are called allergens, which simply mean they can cause an allergic reaction. Allergic rhinitis is one of the most commonly diagnosed health disorders among children.
Boys are twice as likely to get allergic rhinitis as girls. Allergic rhinitis affects up to 20 percent of children. Allergy symptoms can have a profound effect on a child’s health, behavior and ability to learn.
If allergic rhinitis left untreated, it also can lead to a host of other serious conditions, including asthma, DNS, recurrent middle-ear infections, sinusitis, and chronic cough.
Allergic rhinitis includes:
- Seasonal - occurs particularly during pollen seasons. Seasonal allergic rhinitis does not usually develop until after four years of age.
- Perennial - occurs throughout the year. This type of allergic rhinitis is commonly seen in younger children.
Common allergens that can cause this condition include pollen, dust, animal dander and mold. Things in the workplace, such as cereal grain, wood dust, chemicals, or lab animals, can also cause allergic rhinitis.
Pollen is the biggest allergen culprit, especially during certain times of the year. 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.
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose or nasal congestion
- Pale nasal turbinate’s, with or without clear nasal discharge
- Sneezing may be frequent
- Itching of the palate, nose, ears, or eyes
- Frequent sore throats
- Constant clearing of the throat, cough
- Fatigue and irritability
Diagnosis is usually based on your history of symptoms. Your doctor will do a physical assessment and ask you questions about your symptoms. You will be asked about exposure to allergens and whether your symptoms vary by time of day or season. A family history can usually be elicited.
Skin tests and blood tests help in diagnosing the condition and detecting the allergen. A skin test can show how your skin reacts to an allergen. Or a blood test can measure the level of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, which your body makes in response to certain allergens. A complete blood count (CBC) test shows an increased Eosinophil count.