Rhinitis FAQ

Allergic Rhinitis Facts

Allergic rhinitis occurs as a result of the lining of the nose becoming inflamed. Typically, allergic rhinitis arises from inhaling seasonal allergens such as grass and pollen. It can also be triggered by perennial irritants like house dust mites and pet dander.

In addition to allergic inflammation of the nose, it can also cause lots of other symptoms, such as allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, which can also lead to inflammation of the lining of the eyes. Allergic rhinitis may impact the inner ear, leading to itchiness in the throat and tongue, and congestion in the nose.

Additionally, it may cause a mild cough. Individuals with asthma often experience an allergic cough due to allergic rhinitis known as allergy asthma. In some cases, it can be an extremely serious medical condition. Fortunately, there are a variety of different ways the condition can be treated.

The management of allergic rhinitis involves three aspects:
  • Firstly, allergen avoidance is crucial, and patients can do so by identifying and avoiding their specific allergens.
  • Secondly, symptomatic treatment is recommended, typically involving a non-sedating antihistamine nasal spray. Additionally, there are highly effective antihistamine-containing eye drops available for treating eye-related symptoms. Nasal steroid sprays are considered the gold treatment choice for symptomatic relief of allergic rhinitis as they can address itching, runny nose, and nasal congestion.
  • The last aspect of treating allergic rhinitis is immunotherapy, which involves taking drops or tablets under the tongue to modify the immune system's response to specific allergens. This can help produce tolerant antibodies that reduce the severity of allergic reactions.

Grass pollen is the predominant trigger of seasonal allergic rhinitis in the UK, resulting in hay fever symptoms such as itching, sneezing, congestion, and frequent eye and nose rubbing among patients. Typically, individuals experience this condition from May through August. If pollen counts are high on a given day, this allergic condition can become especially severe.

House dust mites are the second most frequent trigger of allergic rhinitis, and their presence can exacerbate symptoms during winter when they are more abundant indoors. This allergy often results in severe congestion, a persistent cold-like sensation, headaches, and may also cause dark circles under the eyes.

The key symptoms to be aware of include eyes that are swollen and red, throat clearing caused by mucus build-up, an itchy nose and ears, as well as a dry, irritated cough at the back of the throat.

Allergic rhinitis can have significant consequences, particularly when it affects a child’s quality of life at school, disturbs sleep, or interferes with outdoor activities due to severe symptoms. In some cases, the condition may also result in sinusitis.

Want to know more Allergic Rhinitis Facts? Read the full article on All you need to know about allergic rhinitis by consultant paediatric allergist Dr Helen Brough.


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