Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
What Is Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis (commonly known as hay fever) occurs when the immune system mistakes harmless substance (allergens) as a threat and triggers the body’s natural defenses. Histamine is then released by the immune system in response to the allergen. Histamines cause the symptoms of irritation often associated with allergies in the nose, eyes, throat, ears, mouth, and skin.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) results from the spread of pollen. This occurs in different areas different times of the year in relation to outdoor allergens.
Indoor Allergens May Trigger Chronic Symptoms. This Is Called Perennial Allergic Rhinitis. Common Indoor Allergens Include:
- Pet Dander
- Skin Flakes
- Pet Hair
Other triggers include smoke, strong odors, temperature changes, and humidity. Smells and other air patterns may cause inflammation in the lining of the nose, leading to symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Eye allergies, often related to allergic rhinitis, is called allergic conjunctivitis. As asthma and allergies often impact one-another, asthma patients may experience a worsening of symptoms when suffering from allergic rhinitis.
What Is Non-Allergic Rhinitis?
If you suffer from year-round symptoms, you may have what is known as non-allergic rhinitis. Unlike allergic rhinitis, which occurs as a direct result of contact with a particular substance, there are no traceable triggers associated with non-allergic rhinitis. The immune system and allergies play no role in the condition.
A majority of those with non-allergic rhinitis are adults who suffer from nasal congestion, sneezing, or a runny nose.
Out of nearly 80 million Americans that report allergy symptoms related to rhinitis, 33% suffer from non-allergic rhinitis. Like allergic rhinitis, symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis may worsen asthma symptoms.
Distinguishing between allergic and non-allergic rhinitis requires diagnosis by a trained immunologist or allergist. Dr. Laura Ispas of Allergy Asthma and Immunology Institute can provide such a diagnosis and assist in treatment and symptom management.
If you suffer from allergy symptoms, give us a call to schedule an appointment and learn more about treatment, symptom management, and more.