Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nose's mucous membrane. Many people suffer from allergic rhinitis — in other words, rhinitis triggered by an allergic reaction, usually to pollen or other normally harmless substances found in nature.
TYPES OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS
There are two basic types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal and perennial.
- Seasonal allergic rhinitis, often referred to as "hay fever," is triggered by outdoor allergens. For example, the pollen from grasses, weeds, flowers or trees may cause this form of rhinitis.
- Perennial allergic rhinitis occurs throughout the year. In many cases it is triggered by indoor allergens, such as proteins found in a pet's fur or skin, or dust mites.
While pollutants, strong odors, and other irritants can cause rhinitis, this is not considered to be allergic in nature.
SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS
There are several symptoms commonly associated with allergic rhinitis, which include:
- Runny nose
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Itchy nose or throat
- Postnasal drip
Allergic rhinitis may start, or become worse at a certain time of year. For example, many plants and trees produce pollen in the springtime, which may result in the onset of symptoms.
In many cases, the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are very similar to the symptoms of the common cold. However, there are a few distinguishing characteristics that separate these two conditions. For instance, a runny nose from "hay fever" typically has a watery discharge, whereas a cold is accompanied by thick or yellowish mucus. Moreover, the symptoms of allergic rhinitis will stop once your exposure to the allergen has ceased; in contrast, the symptoms of a cold may persist for a couple of days up to a week or longer.
If you are suffering from allergic rhinitis, there are treatment options available. Of course, the best option is to limit or eliminate your exposure to the trigger allergens in the first place. In addition, there are medications available that can help relieve rhinitis symptoms, such as nasal corticosteroids, antihistamines, and other remedies.
At Allergy and Asthma Care of Waco, our trained allergists can help you to identify the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and prescribe an appropriate treatment plan to help you cope.