Allergic rhinitis

Alternative Names

Hay fever; Nasal allergies

Definition of Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is a collection of symptoms, mostly in the nose and eyes, which occur when you breathe in something you are allergic to, such as dust, dander, or pollen.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

An allergen is something that triggers an allergy. When a person with allergic rhinitis breathes in an allergen such as pollen or dust, the body releases chemicals, including histamine. This causes allergy symptoms such as itching, swelling, and mucus production.

Symptoms

Symptoms that occur shortly after you come into contact with the substance you are allergic to may include:

Signs and tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms. Your history of symptoms is important in diagnosing allergic rhinitis, including whether the symptoms vary according to time of day or the season, and exposure to pets or other allergens.

Treatment

The best treatment is to avoid what causes your allergic symptoms in the first place. It may be impossible to completely avoid all your triggers, but you can often take steps to reduce exposure.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be treated. More severe cases require allergy shots.

Review

Paula J. Busse, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/29/2010

Allergy symptoms
Allergic rhinitis
Recognizing invader

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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