What is Allergic Rhinitis?
September 03, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is caused by exposure to certain allergens such as pollen, dust, mold, or flakes of skin from certain animals. It is characterized by the inflammation of the nasal membrane and the patient experiences symptoms like sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy throat, etc.

Visit your doctor if you experience such symptoms and follow the prescribed regimen to reduce the severity and seriousness of the allergy. There can be multiple factors that increase the risk of developing the disease, therefore, to stay away from Allergic Rhinitis protect yourself from the exposure of allergens and religiously follow the other preventive measures as advised by your doctor.

Causes of Allergic Rhinitis

When your body comes in contact with an allergen, it will release a chemical known as histamine, which is the main cause of allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Here is the list of some common allergens



  Tiny flecks of skin



They usually do not affect everyone but develop the allergy in people whose immune system recognizes and overreacts to a certain allergen in the environment and those having a history of hay fever running in the family.

Risk Factors of Allergic Rhinitis

The following risk factors can worsen the condition, so it is necessary to protect yourself from maximum exposure:

  Family history

  Cigarette smoke



  Ectopic eczema

  Hair sprays


  Air fresheners

  Pool chlorine

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

The symptoms start instantly after being exposed to an allergen. Some of the most common symptoms are:


  An itchy nose

  Sleep problems

  Postnasal drainage

  Severe headaches

  Swollen and watery eyes

  Puffy eyelids


  Dark circles

  Itchy or sore throat



  Nasal congestion

  Ear fullness

How is Allergic Rhinitis Diagnosed?

To diagnose the condition and suggest an effective treatment for it, your doctor will ask questions about the symptoms, family history, whether you have a pet or not, your previous exposure to an allergen, etc.

Many other tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis of the allergy. For example

1.   Skin prick test: your skin gets exposed to several substances by introducing them into your immune system with a needle, and if you're allergic to a substance red bumps will appear on the skin

2.   A blood test (radioallergosorbent test): the amount of immunoglobulin E antibodies to particular allergens in your blood is measured.

How to Prevent Allergic Rhinitis

  During high pollen seasons keep your doors and windows closed

  Wash your hands after touching your pet

  Do not mow the lawn

  Choose woody floors over carpets

  Avoid the use of woolen blankets

  Take a shower immediately after coming from outside

  Wash your clothes regularly after coming from work

  Avoid being exposed to allergens such as smoke, fumes, humidity, air pollution, etc.

Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis

The best treatment options to get relief from allergic rhinitis are as under


1.   Antihistamines: they block the release of histamine and lessen the severity of the symptoms e.g. fexofenadine (Allegra), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), desloratadine (Clarinex), loratadine (Claritin), etc.

2.   Corticosteroids: they help to reduce inflammation and relieve nasal blockage or nasal polyps e.g., beclomethasone dipropionate, budesonide, flunisolide, fluticasone propionate, mometasone furoate

You can acquire the necessary medications at Shifa4U.


1.   Immunotherapy: the allergens are injected weekly under the skin of your upper arm to make your immune system less sensitive to them.

2.   Sublingual immunotherapy: a tablet containing allergens is placed under your tongue for effective treatment of rhinitis

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.