Allergic Rhinitis

Because this text refers to allergy issues, I recommend to read it together with an introductory text about allergy, atopy, allergen and allergic reactions. Allergic rhinitis is probably the most common condition appearing as a consequence on an allergic reaction. Every year it bothers many people and worsens their life-quality.


The cause in this case is an allergic reaction that affects cells lining the nasal cavity. This is because of a contact with an allergen, most often those which are directly inhaled. Most common allergens causing allergic rhinitis are pollen of various plants (flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees), dust, dust mites and animal antigens.


Allergic rhinitis can be distinguished into two forms – acute and chronic. Acute form is the classic allergy that starts when certain person is confronted with an allergen. The nose starts to itch, sneezing, cough and nose discharge emerges. Smell sensation may worsen. When nasal cavity is completely blocked by edema, man has to start breathing with mouth. Often though not always, simultaneous eye conjunctivitis develops (red burning eyes with swollen eyelids).


The chronic form is a reflection of long-term damage to the nasal mucosa by allergy-caused inflammation. The irritation of mucous membranes causes polyp growths, nasal cavity narrows and problems with breathing through the nose occur. You will find more information in the article dedicated to nasal polyps.


Symptoms are quite clear but correct diagnosis should be made using allergy testing sets which tell us about certain allergens which an individual is sensitive to. Most common form of such examination is the skin prick test.


If a person knows what pollen is allergic to, he or she should know the period during which given plants bloom and at this time either avoid to visit the countryside or at least take preemptively an antihistaminic agent (see Treatment). While having a dust mite allergy it is important to know that these microscopic parasites like to live in textiles. They love heat and humidity, dryness and cold kill them. Therefore it is necessary to make the bed every morning and often expose bed linen to the sun. Plush toys should be regularly put into freezer for a while. Cold is a very reliable way to kill the mites. If anyone in your family is allergic to dogs and cats, it is logically advisable not to acquire these animals. As an interesting fact the so-called "fur allergy" is not caused by animal hair, but products of animal skin sebaceous glands. So by acquisition of a hairless race the issue can not be solved.


An allergic person should avoid his or her allergens if possible. When acute allergic rhinitis occurs, the best therapy are antiallergic drugs from group of antihistaminic agents which block effect of a potent pro-allergic substance in our bodies, the histamine.

Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources