Allergens are substances that cause allergic reactions. Some of the most common allergens occur when pollen is high or when other trees and plants are blooming in the spring, summer, or fall. In fact, pollen is one of the most common allergens and may result in allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as hay fever, which is an allergic reaction to allergens.
Indoor allergens, such as pet dander, cat saliva, mold, and dust mites trigger perennial allergies, which occur all year round. Perennial allergies may also result in allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is a common condition that tends to affect more people in the spring and fall seasons.
Causes of Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis occurs when your body interacts with any type of allergen. When this happens, your body releases histamine, a natural chemical designed to defend against the allergen. However, the chemical may cause allergic rhinitis and subsequent symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.
Anyone is vulnerable to allergies, but there are certain risk factors that may make you more susceptible to developing allergic rhinitis, including exposure to the following:
- Air Pollution
- Cigarette Smoke
- Cold Temperatures
- Perfumes and Colognes
- Wood Smoke
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
Like many medical conditions, allergic rhinitis has many symptoms associated with it, including the following:
- Runny Nose
- Stuffy or Itchy Nose
- Sore or Scratchy Throat
- Itchy, Watery Eyes
- Frequent Headaches
- Dry, Itchy Skin
- Excessive Fatigue
Typically, you experience more than one of the above symptoms soon after encountering pollen or other allergens. Some symptoms, such as recurrent headaches, may only occur after extended exposure to allergens.
Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis
If you think you may have allergic rhinitis, schedule an appointment with your doctor. During your appointment, your doctor may perform a physical exam and may even order a few different tests to help determine the best treatment option for your condition. One of the most common tests is a skin prick test. During this test, your doctor will place a variety of substances on your skin to see how they react with your body. If you're allergic to any of the substances, chances are a red bump will appear on your skin.
Your doctor may also recommend blood tests to measure your body's immunoglobulin E antibody levels.
Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis
Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor will tackle your allergic rhinitis a variety of ways, including medications, home remedies, and alternative medicines. Some examples of potential treatment options include the following:
- Eye Drops
- Nasal Sprays
- Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
Simple home remedies may also help combat allergic rhinitis. If you're suffering from minor symptoms, try opening your windows or using an air conditioner to mix up the air in your home. Check your air filter as well to ensure it isn't clogged or overly dirty.
Prognosis of Allergic Rhinitis
Your prognosis all depends on your condition and symptoms. If your symptoms are mild and only occur in certain seasons, you'll likely be able to manage your allergic rhinitis with medications or making a few adjustments around your home. Severe cases of allergic rhinitis may require more extensive medical treatment.