If you or your child experience frequent sinus infections or persistent nasal symptoms (that may get worse during certain seasons, especially summertime and “hay fever season”) or if you have nasal polyps or asthma, you may have allergic rhinitis. One in five people in the United States have allergic rhinitis, also known as “hay fever,” making it one of the most common conditions affecting kids and adults. Symptoms include stuffy nose, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, red eyes. So, just how long do the symptoms of allergic rhinitis last?
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
- Nasal congestion (caused by swelling of the nasal mucous membranes)
- Runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing
- Itchy eyes, nose, roof of the mouth or throat
- Swollen and dark circles under the eyes
- Facial pressure
The answer to that question is different for everyone, because allergic rhinitis may rear its ugly head whenever allergens are present, but the good news is that with proper treatment and precautions, the unpleasant symptoms of allergic rhinitis may be reduced or eliminated. This is especially welcome news for asthma sufferers, because hay fever is very common among asthmatics, and hay fever can worsen asthma symptoms. And there’s more good news: early intervention may help to prevent children suffering from hay fever from developing asthma.
Your board-certified allergy/immunology specialist can help. Hay fever is caused (triggered) by an allergic reaction to common environmental substances (triggers) such as mold, dust mites, pet dander, and the pollens from trees, grass, and weeds. So, while the cause of allergic rhinitis varies from person to person, your board-certified allergy/immunology specialist will ask detailed questions about your chronic nasal condition and conduct a thorough physical examination to determine what is causing your allergic rhinitis. Your allergist may employ skin tests or blood tests to determine what you are allergic to, and once your allergy triggers have been identified, we will outline a personalized treatment plan to reduce or eliminate symptoms, ideally by preventing the symptoms from starting in the first place.
Your personalized treatment plan may include:
- Lifestyle changes (environmental control measures)
- Nasal medications (to reduce inflammation)
- Antihistamines (to relieve itching, sneezing, and runny nose)
- Decongestants (to reduce nasal congestion)
- Other medications, or immunotherapy (if they are right for you)
What about allergy shots? Allergy shots aren’t for everyone, and they’re nothing to be afraid of, either. In many cases, when patients implement their treatment plan, including lifestyle changes and any medications, they experience significant improvements in allergy symptoms. Your physician will be happy to answer any questions you may have about allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) if they may benefit you. Patients generally receive injections once or twice a week at first, and gradually reduce frequency to once a month, for several years.
Don’t let allergic rhinitis reduce your quality of life, when effective treatments are available! Hay fever isn’t just uncomfortable, it can also lead to absences from school or work, sleeplessness, worsening of asthma, and increased risk of sinus infection and ear infection. The board-certified allergy and immunology specialists at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay are dedicated to providing families with comprehensive, cost-effective care. We treat patients of all ages, from children to adults, for allergies, asthma and immune system disorders. We have five convenient Tampa Bay offices to serve you, and we offer a wide variety of procedures right in our office. Call (813) 971-9743 today to schedule an appointment, or use our Online Appointment Request Form.