Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis

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What is allergic rhinitis?

Rhinitis is a reaction that occurs in the nose when airborne irritants (allergens) trigger the release of histamine. Histamine causes itching, inflammation, and fluid or mucous production in the fragile linings of nasal passages, sinuses, and eyelids.

There is usually a family history of allergic rhinitis.

What are the types of allergic rhinitis?

The two categories of allergic rhinitis include:

What are the causes of allergic rhinitis?

The most common causes of allergic rhinitis include the following:

What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

The following are the most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Children with perennial allergic rhinitis may also have the following:

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?

Typically, the diagnosis is made by your child's doctor based on a thorough medical history and physical examination. In addition to the above symptoms, your child's doctor may find, on physical examination, dark circles under the eyes, creases under the eyes, and swollen tissue inside the nose. If this is the case, then your child's doctor may refer your child to see an allergist. An allergist is a specialist who is trained to perform allergy skin testing, which will tell you exactly what environmental aeroallergens cause allergic symptoms in your child.

Treatment for allergic rhinitis

Specific treatment for allergic rhinitis will be determined by your child's doctor based on:

Treatment options may include:

If your child does not respond to avoidance or to the above medications, your child's allergist then may recommend allergy shots or immunotherapy based on the findings. Immunotherapy usually involves a three- to five-year course of repeated injections of specific allergens to decrease the reaction to these allergens when your child comes into contact with them. Consult your child's doctor for more information.

How is allergic rhinitis prevented?

Preventive measures for avoiding allergic rhinitis include:

The link between allergic rhinitis and asthma

Controlling asthma may mean controlling allergic rhinitis in some patients, according to allergy and asthma experts. Allergic rhinitis is a common problem that may be associated with asthma.

Guidelines from the World Health Organization recognize the link between allergic rhinitis and asthma. Although the link is not fully understood, one theory asserts that rhinitis makes it difficult to breathe through the nose, which hampers the normal function of the nose. Breathing through the mouth does not warm the air, or filter or humidify it before it enters the lungs, which can make asthma worse.

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