Allergic rhinitis


Allergic rhinitis, also referred to as hay fever, is a type of allergies that affects the nose. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis range from mild to severe and typically include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion and other symptoms. Allergic rhinitis is commonly caused by environmental allergens such as pollen, dust and pet dander, and can be triggered by season but can also be triggered by other irritants such as smoke or perfumes. Treatment for allergic rhinitis includes avoiding allergens when possible, using over-the-counter antihistamines, and using saline nasal sprays to help clear the nasal passage. More severe cases of allergic rhinitis may require prescription medication or allergy shots.


The symptoms of allergic rhinitis can include sneezing, a runny nose, itchy nose/eyes/throat, facial pressure/pain, nasal congestion, watery eyes, coughing, post-nasal drip, and fatigue.


The known causes of Allergic rhinitis are airborne allergens, such as pollen from grass, trees, weeds, and mold, along with pet dander, dust mites, and cockroach droppings. Some people may also experience symptoms in response to certain foods, perfumes, cosmetics, or other chemical irritants.

Risk factors

The risk factors for allergic rhinitis include:

  1. Exposure to allergens, such as dust mites, pollens, animal dander, molds and cockroaches.
  2. Having a family history of allergies.
  3. Exposure to air pollution.
  4. Exposure to cigarette smoke.
  5. Living in a damp, moldy environment.
  6. Having an enlarged nasal turbinate.
  7. Having a weakened immune system.
  8. Having respiratory infections, such as the common cold.


Allergic rhinitis is typically diagnosed with a combination of a physical examination and the patient’s medical history. During the physical examination, the doctor will look for signs of redness, swelling, and itching in the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. The doctor might also look into the nose with a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to check for inflammation or swelling. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may then perform skin prick or blood tests. These tests can determine what allergens may be causing the allergies.


Allergic rhinitis is a common allergic disorder that causes inflammation and irritation of the nose. It can be broken down into two subtypes, seasonal allergic rhinitis and perennial allergic rhinitis.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a type of allergic rhinitis that is caused by allergens in the environment, such as tree and grass pollens. Symptoms usually appear in the spring and summer months, when these allergens are at their highest levels. Symptoms include a runny and stuffy nose, sneezing, and itchy and watery eyes.

Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens that exist year round, such as mold, pet dander, and dust mites. Symptoms may be present throughout the year and include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy and watery eyes.

Both types of allergic rhinitis can be treated with a combination of avoidance of allergens, medications, and allergen immunotherapy.


The treatment options for Allergic Rhinitis depend on the type and severity of the symptoms. Generally, these treatments may include:

  1. Avoiding allergens: Identifying and avoiding allergens that are triggering the allergy symptoms is a key part of managing allergic rhinitis.
  2. nasal sprays: Over-the-counter or prescription nasal sprays (such as corticosteroids or cromolyn) help reduce inflammation and provide relief from nasal symptoms.
  3. Antihistamines: Medications like over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, or prescription medications can help relieve symptoms of sneezing, itching, and runny nose.
  4. Allergy shots: Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, may also be recommended for severe allergic rhinitis.
  5. Saline irrigations: Flushing out the nasal passages with a saline solution can help relieve congestion and help remove allergens and irritants.
  6. Home remedies: In some cases, simple home remedies like applying a cold compress to the face, eating spicy foods, or using a humidifier can provide temporary relief.


  1. Avoid potential allergens by keeping windows closed and using air conditioning when possible.
  2. Change clothes and wash your hands after going outdoors to prevent allergens from entering your home.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter to reduce dust mites in the home.
  4. Use air humidifiers to keep the air from becoming too dry and triggering allergy symptoms.
  5. Use hypoallergenic bedding and wash sheets in hot water and frequent vacuuming of carpets and furniture to reduce dust mites.
  6. Avoid fragrances, such as perfumes, air fresheners, and scented candles, which can trigger allergy symptoms.
  7. Take over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines to help relieve allergy symptoms.
  8. Try a nasal irrigation such as a neti pot or saline spray to help flush allergens out of the nose.
  9. Talk to your doctor about whether an allergy shot (immunotherapy) might help reduce your symptoms.

Gender differences?

Yes, there are gender-specific differences in the presentation and management of Allergic rhinitis. Generally, symptoms of Allergic rhinitis tend to be more severe in women than in men. In a study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, women reported more sneezing, nasal itching, and nasal obstruction than men and were more likely to report severe symptoms. Additionally, women tend to have higher symptom scores than men and more severe symptoms overall.

In terms of management, women are also more likely to use antihistamines and other allergy medications to manage their symptoms. Additionally, women tend to be more likely than men to use complementary and alternative treatments such as acupuncture, honey, and probiotics.

Overall, these gender-specific differences highlight the importance of providing tailored treatments for Allergic rhinitis patients based on their gender.


Nutrition plays an important role in the management of allergic rhinitis, as certain foods can trigger allergic symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, and watery eyes. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is low in saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods can help to reduce the severity of these symptoms. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin C are especially beneficial. Additionally, avoiding foods that can be known triggers can help reduce the occurrence of allergic symptoms. Examples of foods that may trigger allergic rhinitis include dairy, eggs, nuts, and certain fruits and vegetables.

Physical Activity

Physical activity can help reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis by improving circulation and reducing inflammation in the nasal passages. Increased flow of air through the nasal passages can help reduce the amount of allergens that are breathed in, as well as help clear out mucus and other respiratory secretions that can cause congestion. Additionally, regular exercise helps to improve the overall health of the immune system, which in turn can help in reducing an individual’s susceptibility to allergens.

Further Reading


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