Allergic rhinitis is an immunological response to allergens. These allergens may vary, from dust to pollen to animal dander. Allergic rhinitis is called hay fever if the allergens are seasonal and due to a higher pollen count. Allergies may be seasonal or perennial, which means patients experience symptoms all year round. Perennial allergies may be caused by dust, animal dander or droppings, as well as pests.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be very bothersome, causing symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. This is your immune system responding to allergens and attacking them as if they were harmful. Rarely does food cause allergic rhinitis.
Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis
Treating allergic rhinitis starts with identifying what triggers an allergic response. Allergy testing needs to be done via a skin prick test, where an allergen is introduced to your body to determine whether it triggers an allergic reaction.
Avoiding your triggers is important to minimize uncomfortable allergic rhinitis symptoms. Daily cleaning, keeping your windows shut when the pollen count is high, and using mite-proof bedding are a few examples of avoiding your triggers.
Another important part of treatment is medication, which acts to reduce the severity of your symptoms. Antihistamines can reduce itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and sneezing by countering the histamines your body produces during a reaction. Antihistamines are taken orally but are also available in spray form. The disadvantage of antihistamines is that they are not very effective when taken after symptoms have begun to appear. Intranasal corticosteroids are another type of drug for allergic rhinitis. They contain steroids, which tend to have a more powerful effect than oral or intranasal antihistamines. Unlike antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids are effective both in late response and prevention of an allergic reaction.
For patients with difficulty controlling allergy rhinitis, immunotherapy may be effective. Immunotherapy is delivered through allergy shots, which involve injections of a diluted allergy extract administered routinely. The injections gradually increasing in doses until reaching a maintenance dose. What this does is enable the patient to build a tolerance for the allergen, which means exposure to it may no longer produce severe symptoms as before. This treatment option for allergic rhinitis is a permanent solution that gradually teaches your body not to react to allergens. Conducted over a two-month period, patients should experience a great improvement of allergic rhinitis symptoms.
If you suffer from allergic rhinitis, the best way to treat it is through a customized approach made specifically for you. The type of doctor to see for allergic rhinitis treatment is a board-certified allergist, someone with extensive knowledge of allergies and experience in treating them.
Allergists in Will County & DuPage County, IL
At Oak Brook Allergists, our doctors are board-certified in allergy and immunology, and are experts in treating allergic rhinitis in pediatric and adult patients. To learn more about the many treatment options you have, schedule a visit with us today. To make an appointment with an allergist, call (630) 574-0460 or use our convenient online request form.