There are more than three million new cases of it per year and millions of Americans nationwide suffer from it…what is it? Allergy rhinitis! Allergic rhinitis, colloquially known as hay fever, is an allergic response that can cause a variety of symptoms, including itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and others. Thankfully, allergy rhinitis is an easily treatable condition. With the proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, can help individuals live a high quality life in spite of allergy rhinitis.
What is Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis develops when your body’s immune system overreacts to an allergen in the environment. This reaction results in an immune system response: allergy symptoms. While it’s also known as hay fever, it really has little to do with hay. Any allergen can trigger allergic rhinitis, though the most common cases of allergic rhinitis are due to sensitivity to grasses, trees, weeds, and airborne mold spores.
There are two primary forms: seasonal (the most common) and perennial. Seasonal allergic rhinitis occur in spring, summer, and early fall, and is typically triggered by pollens from seasonal grass, trees, and weeds, as well as mold. Those with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms year-round, and symptoms are usually caused by dust mites, pet hair and dander, cockroaches, and mold.
On occasion, underlying or unexpected food allergies may cause or exacerbate perennial nasal symptoms. It is important to note that some people experience both types of allergic rhinitis, with perennial symptoms becoming worse during specific allergy seasons. Between 40 to 60 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis.
How Can I Tell if I Have Allergic Rhinitis?
Many cases go undiagnosed. Consequently, millions of people suffer needlessly with symptoms year after year. If you suspect you may have allergies, don’t delay treatment—life is much better when allergies are diagnosed and treated, rather than ignored out of convenience or dismissed.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to tell if you have allergies. How can you tell if its allergic rhinitis or something else, like a cold or flu? When should you see a doctor? Many people do not seek treatment until symptoms become severe, but getting proper treatment can provide much welcome relief.
Allergic rhinitis is either year-round (perennial) or recurring throughout the year (seasonal). Common symptoms include sneezing, a runny, stuffy or itchy nose, coughing, itchy, red or watery eyes, frequent headaches, circles under the eyes, chest tightness, sore or scratchy throat, and fatigue. You may display just a few of the most common symptoms or a unique combination thereof.
Unlike a cold or flu, whose symptoms will go away after a few days to a week, hay fever symptoms are persistent. You may experience them for several weeks or a couple months at a time depending on the allergy season. Symptoms will remain until you are no longer exposed to the allergen in question.
How Do I Treat It?
While there is no permanent cure, the condition is easily treatable, and there are many treatment options available, from prescription medication to over the top solutions to immunotherapy (allergy shots). The key to allergic rhinitis relief is a proper diagnosis and professional advice provided by an allergy specialist.