Allergic Rhinitis is more commonly referred to as hay fever and is an inflammation of the nasal passages - usually caused by an allergic reaction to particles in the air.
No longer believed to have anything to do with Hay or a Fever, Allergic Rhinitis (Latin for "swollen nose") can be seasonal or year round and is usually blamed on pollen, grasses, weeds and trees.
Allergens responsible for Hay Fever include
- pollen from trees, grasses and ragweed
- house dust and dust mites
- cigarette smoke
- strong odors
- alcholic beverages
Hay fever commonly causes:
- watery eyes,
- itchy nose, mouth, eyes, throat, skin
- runny or stuffed up nose
- scratchy mouths, noses or sore throats,
Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis is usually done by your doctor and involves them examining the inside of your nose in a painless examination that checks for redness and other signs of inflammation.
Determination of the allergen responsible requires additional testing - see Diagnosis
While avoidance of allergens is the ideal treatment it is often not possible. You should try to
- stay indoors with the windoes closed during the morning hours when pollen levels are at their highest
- keep car windows up while driving and consider using re-circulated air in the car when pollen counts are high
- keep house windows closed during windy conditions in pollen season
- clean air conditioner filters regularly
- dust and clean floors and walls with a damp cloth/mop
- vacuum regularly
- smear petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) inside your nose when you are outdoors - this can help to trap pollen and stops it reaching the inner lining of your nose
- avoid lawn mowing and other activities that are likely to stir up outdoor allergens
- wear sunglasses and frequently splash your eyes with water
- shower after playing outdoor sport - removes odour as well as allergens!
- wash pets regularly or avoid animal dander
- wash hands after contact
When symptoms occur Antihistamines work well to treating them. They can be purchased over the counter and newer forms cause little or no drowsiness.