Rhinitis, Allergic

In patients with allergic rhinitis, the nasal passages are much more sensitive to environmental irritants or allergic triggers. Allergic rhinitis is also known as “hay fever.” In patients with more constant or long-term problems, sinus changes, nasal polyps, loss of sense of smell, and itchy red eyes may also be present. Common triggers of allergic rhinitis are smoke, smog, pollens, mold, or dust. This condition is not contagious or curable but may require medication and other forms of allergy treatment for control. 

Symptoms may be seasonal (especially in the spring and/or fall) or perennial (continuous). Sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, scratchy throat, is the most common symptoms. In severe cases, frontal headaches, sinus involvement, and sleep deprivation caused by nighttime symptoms are seen.

The best treatment usually involves reducing or avoiding exposure to the potential allergens, in combination with the use of antihistamines and topical intranasal steroids. In more severe cases, a short course of oral corticosteroids and nasal decongestants may be required. Finally, allergy injections for specific types of allergic rhinitis may be considered for individuals who have a poor response to drug therapy. Possible side effects of treatment may include excessive sleepiness, palpitations, or changes in blood pressure control, and occasional thinning of the nasal mucosa.

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