Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a condition that affects the nose and sinuses. According to the American College of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), approximately 50 million Americans suffer from allergic diseases, including allergic rhinitis. Of those with allergic rhinitis, 30% have symptoms all year round, while 70% experience seasonal allergies. The ACAAI also reports that children with parents who have allergies are more likely to develop allergies themselves – about 60-80%.
On the upside, allergic rhinitis is not life-threatening and is generally very manageable with appropriate treatment. Let’s discuss allergic rhinitis further, including its symptoms and how it is treated.
What Causes Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergy to something in the environment, such as pollen, dust, mold, smoke, harsh chemicals, or animal dander. When the person breathes in the allergen, it triggers a reaction in the body that causes symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis?
The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are congestion, sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, itching of the nose, throat, and roof of the mouth, sinus pressure, and brain fog. Less common symptoms include headaches, a feeling of tiredness, and fatigue.
How is Allergic Rhinitis Treated?
There are a few different ways that doctors treat allergic rhinitis, and a combination of methods should be employed to maximize the effectiveness of treatment. Some of the components in comprehensive allergic rhinitis treatment include allergen avoidance, antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids, and mask-wearing.
- Allergen avoidance involves preventing continued exposure to allergens by minimizing time outdoors on days when the pollen count is high, changing out of clothes and showering after coming home, and keeping windows closed.
- Wearing a mask that filters out 95% of tiny 0.3-micron size particles, such as N95 and KN95 masks, can help reduce exposure to allergens.
- Antihistamines work by blocking histamine receptors and preventing histamine from binding to them. Allergy doctors usually recommend taking antihistamines not only due to exposure but also in anticipation of exposure. First-generation antihistamines have a drowsy effect, while second-generation antihistamines are non-drowsy. Drowsy antihistamines can help allergy sufferers sleep at night, while non-drowsy forms are more appropriate during the day.
- Decongestants and corticosteroids ease symptoms by reducing swelling and congestion in the nasal passages and break the cycle of congestion and pressure. They can be used in conjunction with antihistamines.
Allergic Rhinitis Treatment in Downers Grove, Naperville, Elmhurst, and Plainfield, IL
For superior allergy care in northeastern Illinois, choose Oak Brook Allergists. We treat all types of allergies and are highly skilled in treating patients with multiple allergies. Allergies tend to run in families, and our allergists treat patients of all ages and offer the latest in allergy treatment, such as immunotherapy for food allergies.
Place your trust in the hands of our allergy experts. Find out how we can make your condition better, and what customized treatment plan we recommend. Call our allergy clinic today at (630) 574-0460 or use our convenient online appointment request form.