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Allergic rhinitis

What is allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is the result of an allergic response of our body to specific allergens.

Up to 30 percent of people worldwide are affected. Allergens are harmless substances that cause allergic reactions. The most common example of an allergen is pollen, usually the cause for seasonal allergic rhinitis, which usually appears when the season changes.

Allergic rhinitis

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis

The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • stuffy nose
  • itchy nose
  • coughing
  • sore or scratchy throat
  • itchy eyes
  • watery eyes
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • frequent headaches
  • excessive fatigue

One or more of these symptoms may appear immediately after encountering an allergen while other symptoms, such as recurrent headaches and fatigue, may only happen after long-term exposure to allergens. Despite its name, fever is not a symptom of hay fever.

People who suffer of seasonal allergic rhinitis, experience symptoms rarely and especially when they encounter allergens in large quantities. In the case of perennial allergic rhinitis, people experience symptoms all year long.

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What causes allergic rhinitis?

The natural chemical substance that is released from our body in order to protect it from the “hostile” allergen is called histamine. Histamine can trigger allergy symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes.

There are other common allergens, apart from tree pollen, such as:

  • grass pollen
  • dust mites
  • animal dander
  • cat saliva
  • mould
Risk factors for allergic rhinitis

There are several risk factors, such as family history, having asthma or atopic eczema.

Further to those, there are additional external factors that can trigger or worsen condition, such as:

  • cigarette smoke
  • chemicals
  • air pollution
  • change of temperature
  • humidity
  • wind
  • hairspray
  • perfumes/colognes
  • fumes