If you get a stuffy or runny nose and your eyes are watery and itchy every so often, and it’s not really a cold – because you’re not getting the typical body aches, fatigue, cough, and sore throat – then your symptoms may be due to your body’s allergic response. This is called allergic rhinitis.
Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis is the inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes when they are exposed to an allergen. Hay fever is usually a seasonal reaction to pollen.
Up to 60 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis, and certain people are more susceptible to it than others. Let’s talk about some of the most well-known risk factors for allergic rhinitis and what you can do about it.
Allergies are often inherited – so if a grandparent, parent, or sibling has allergies, you are likely to have them as well – and symptoms will often start showing during childhood. Plus, if you have skin allergies or asthma, your likelihood of also having allergic rhinitis increases.
Exposure to House Allergens
If you have pets, their dander may trigger allergic rhinitis. In addition to pet dander, there may be mold, dust, and microscopic mites that are also well-known household triggers.
Exposure to Smoke
Children who are exposed to any kind of smoke by their parents, other family members, or frequent guests are also likely to develop allergic rhinitis. This includes secondhand smoke from cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and illicit drugs. Children who frequently inhale secondhand smoke may not only develop allergies but also incur damage to their lungs.
This risk also applies to people who live in an area where there is a lot of smoke in the air on a continuous basis. You may live in or near a highly industrialized area or near a factory that emits smoke, and this can eventually cause damage to your lungs. Talk to your doctor about keeping exposure to these pollutants to a minimum.
High Pollen Count
Pollen is probably the most well-known allergen for people who suffer from allergic rhinitis. Tree pollen, grass pollen, and ragweed pollen are common causes of hay fever. It is recommended that patients with allergies regularly monitor pollen counts and restrict outdoor activities when the pollen count is high.
Another well-known risk factor for adult-onset allergic rhinitis is occupation. If you are exposed to harmful gases, chemicals, and air pollution due to the nature of your work, then your body may develop an allergic response to these environmental irritants.
Allergic Rhinitis Treatment in Will County & DuPage County, IL
If you or your child are experiencing symptoms of allergic rhinitis, then the sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, and general discomfort are enough to affect your quality of life. At Oak Brook Allergists, we are here to help our patients keep their allergies under control so that their allergies do not prevent them from enjoying life.
Before we make any recommendations and write prescriptions, we start with comprehensive allergy testing to determine what you or your child are allergic to. From there, we can create an allergy treatment program that will be effective.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, contact our friendly staff today by calling Oak Brook Allergists at (630) 574-0460 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We are a team of compassionate board-certified allergists, and we look forward to serving you.