Also called hay fever or seasonal allergies, allergic rhinitis comprises upper-respiratory reactions caused by common substances you inhale naturally. These substances occur in both the indoor and outdoor environment, and they include things such as pet dander, mold, dust, smoke, and exhaust fumes.
While hay fever most often becomes bothersome in the spring, you may experience symptoms throughout the year depending on your allergic triggers. Approximately 8% of Americans – both adults and children – struggle with allergic rhinitis, producing inflammation in the nose, throat, skin, eyes, and lungs.
Your seasonal allergies may cause symptoms such as:
- A runny, congested nose
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Itchy skin, ears, and throat
- Sinus congestion
While you may feel as though you have a cold or flu, your hay fever is not caused by bacteria or a virus. Rather, your immune system activates the release of histamines and other chemicals – which naturally occur in your body to fight infection, but the body mistakenly interprets the allergen as a foreign invader.
What Are Your Treatment Options?
Your allergy treatment plan will include medication for relief of immediate and ongoing symptoms. It’s important to take your prescribed medications as your allergist directs.
Medications for allergic rhinitis include the following:
These medications block the release of histamine in your bloodstream. Examples are Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra.
Medications such as Afran and Sudafed help to relieve the nasal and sinus stuffiness which is typical of hay fever.
These medications reduce the inflammatory response in the nose, sinuses, and other areas of the body. A popular choice is Flonase.
Taken in pill form, a leukotriene inhibitor such as Singular reduces chemicals which narrow the airways during exposure to allergens.
Allergy shots or sublingual (under-the-tongue) drops can introduce your body to small amounts of problematic allergens, with the purpose of gradually reducing your sensitivity to them.
Prevention Is Important
If you have hay fever, keep track of when your symptoms occur and what worsens them. Your allergic rhinitis doctor may advise you to do the following:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Keep your hands away from your nose and eyes
- Close your windows and stay inside as much as possible on high-pollen-count days
- Change your clothes after working outdoors
- Shower and wash your hair every day
- Keep all pets out of your bedroom and off of the furniture
- Use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter on your furnace and air-conditioner
Allergists in Elmhurst and Downers Grove, IL
At Oak Brook Allergists, our board-certified physicians are Dr. Raymond Pongonis, Dr. David Knysak, and Dr. Zachary Rubin. They’re devoted to helping you and your family live well with your allergic rhinitis all year long.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (630) 574-0460 or by filling out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you and your family get through allergy season like a breeze!