Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to either an indoor or outdoor allergen. Also known as hay fever, this allergic reaction can cause symptoms that affect a person's quality of life. Today, it is estimated that 10 to 30 percent of the world's population suffers from hay fever. Unfortunately, diagnosing this condition can be difficult because of the various allergens that you may be having a reaction to. This guide will help you understand the signs and treatment options for your allergic rhinitis.
In most cases, allergic rhinitis causes symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of a common cold. You may feel tired after being exposed to the allergen. In addition, a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes are common signs of hay fever.
Many patients with allergic rhinitis will also develop an itchy, sore sensation in the throat and nose and postnasal drip.
The symptoms can linger until you are no longer exposed to the allergen. Therefore, if you are having a reaction to dust or pet dander, you may experience the symptoms each day because dust and the pet dander could be lingering in your home.
If you believe you have hay fever, your doctor will want to perform a few simple tests to determine the root cause of your allergies.
Tests may involve a simple skin prick, which involves exposing the skin to different allergens to see if you have a reaction. A blood test can also be used to determine your specific allergen.
Once you determine the allergens that affect your physical and emotional health, a treatment plan can be designed.
Of course, your best option for treatment will be to reduce your exposure to the allergen. This can be difficult if you suffer from dust, which is difficult to completely remove from your home. Also, if you have a severe reaction to a pet, you and your family may need to decide if placing the pet in another home is best.
Thankfully, there are many medications that can be used to ease your allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines are common for patients with hay fever. These medications block the chemicals that affect your immune system, reducing your allergy symptoms.
If medications are not helpful, immunotherapy involving allergy shots may be recommended. When administered regularly, the shots expose your body to specific allergens in small ways, eventually boosting your immune system to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.
You do not have to deal with the discomfort of hay fever. Contact a doctor to learn more about allergy treatment options.