Inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane is called rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is the most common cause of rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is the most common cause of rhinitis. This condition occurs when the body's immune system over-responds to specific, non-infectious particles such as plant pollens, molds, dust mites, animal hair, industrial chemicals (including tobacco smoke), foods, medicines, and insect venom. During an allergic attack, antibodies, primarily immunoglobin E (IgE), attach to mast cells (cells that release histamine) in the lungs, skin, and mucous membranes. Allergic rhinitis involves inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, eustachian tubes, middle ear, sinuses, and pharynx. It is an extremely common condition, affecting approximately 20% of the population. While allergic rhinitis is not a life-threatening condition, complications can occur and the condition can significantly impair quality of life. Allergic rhinitis affects about 20 percent of the American population and ranks as one of the most common illnesses in the U.S. Two-thirds of all patients have symptoms of allergic rhinitis before the age of 30.
When the lining of the nose and sinuses comes into contact with allergens, cells release a chemical called histamine. Histamine causes the nose lining to swell, itch, and produce excess mucus. Many perennial and seasonal allergens cause allergic rhinitis. Dust mites, cockroaches, molds and animal dander, are examples of year-around allergens. Characteristic symptoms include repetitive sneezing; rhinorrhea (runny nose); post-nasal drip; nasal congestion; pruritic (itchy) eyes, ears, nose or throat; and generalized fatigue. Some allergens are present only during certain seasons for example, ragweed in the fall. Chronic cough may be secondary to postnasal drip, but should not be mistaken for asthma. Sinus headaches and ear plugging are also common. Others are present year-round for example, the mites in house dust. Allergic rhinitis occurs when the nose and most often the ears, sinuses, and throat comes into contact with allergy-causing substances, called "allergens". The most common allergens are pollens, molds, dust, and animal dander. Patients who suffer from recurring bouts of allergic rhinitis should observe their symptoms on a continuous basis
Causes of Allergic Rhinitis
Common causes of Allergic Rhinitis
- Allergic reaction.
- Cigarette smoking.
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
Common Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
- Rhinorrhea (runny nose).
- Post-nasal drip.
- Nasal congestion.
Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis
Common Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis
- Avoidance of allergens and environmental controls
- Immunotherapy is indicated for patients whose symptoms are not well controlled with avoidance measures and pharmacotherapy.
- Adjunctive surgery may be offered to alleviate obstructive symptoms in appropriate individuals.
- Avoid using fans that draw in air from outdoors
- Avoid air drying your clothes
- Bathe or shower and change your clothes after being outside.
- Low-dose steroid nasal sprays and nose drops are the most effective treatment.