Do you ever find yourself having sneezing, runny nose, sinus congestion, a sore throat, and maybe a cough? If you have these symptoms longer than 10 days (the average length of the common cold), you could have allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is simply an allergic reaction that affects the upper respiratory tract and sinuses. It can also be associated with itchy, watery eyes. Most people think of these symptoms as “Hay Fever”, but you can get allergic rhinitis from any allergen, not just seasonal pollens. Some of the other allergens that cause rhinitis include:
- Pet and animal dander
- Dust mites
A Note About Diagnosis
You are the best diagnostic tool that your doctor has at their disposal. The more information you can give the doctor, the more likely they will be able to quickly diagnose your allergy. Even if you have been exposed to something in the past, you can develop an allergy after initial exposure. Consider anything unusual in your life, such as a new pet.
Once the doctor has an idea of what you may be allergic to, they can do allergy testing to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms. This is usually done with skin prick and intradermal testing.
There are some very effective treatments for allergic rhinitis and allergic eye disease, including antihistamines and nasal sprays, both over the counter and prescription. Knowing what you are allergic to will also allow you to avoid triggers as much as possible.
Allergen immunotherapy, or “allergy shots,” is another treatment option. This therapy changes how your immune system reacts to allergens over time, lessening your symptoms. Many patients are able to decrease or stop their allergy medications with immunotherapy.
If you need more information or if you believe you may have allergy symptoms, contact us today for an appointment.