Tis the season for itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, and a stuffy nose. Well, for some of us. Allergies are affecting a large part of our population, especially as the seasons change. Allergic rhinitis occurs as a result of allergens released from grass pollen, dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva, or mold. Those suffering from allergic rhinitis will experience symptoms such as: sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, frequent headaches, excessive fatigue, or a scratchy throat.
Luckily, there are multiple treatment and prevention options that can help.
What Causes Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis occurs when you come into contact with an allergen which leads to the release of histamine, the chemical used to defend your body against allergens. The allergies may enter your body through inhaling or sniffing and may be visible in pollen and smoke, or invisible in perfumes and animal dander. There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal and perennial. Seasonal allergies typically occur during the spring and fall and are a result of outdoor allergens, whereas perennial allergies are year-round in response to indoor substances.
Some of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- An itchy nose
- A sore or scratchy throat
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Frequent headaches
- Eczema-type symptoms, such as having extremely dry, itchy skin that can blister and weep
- Excessive fatigue
There are many different methods to relieve symptoms caused by allergic rhinitis, so be sure to find the solution that works for you. Antihistamines are a common treatment option as they work by inhibiting your body’s ability to make histamine and can be found in many over-the-counter products such as Allegra, Benadryl, and Claritin. Decongestants are used to temporarily relieve sinus pressure and a stuffy nose; however, using them for a longer period of time may actually prolong the symptoms or make them worse. Nasal sprays and eye drops can also be used to relieve the itchiness and redness. You may also want to consider an at home remedy, such as running a dehumidifier or washing your sheets more frequently. If all else fails, your physician may suggest allergy shots to enhance your body’s natural immunity.
While there is no way to completely avoid allergic rhinitis, you can avoid and reduce your exposure to allergens in order to limit your symptoms. Three tips to reducing your exposure are:
- Track pollen count and stay indoors when it gets high.
- Consider a HEPA filter in your home.
- Keep windows closed and rely on your AC to cool the house.
Westfield Premier Physicians is a full-service primary care practice equipped with the latest technology and equipment to prevent, diagnose, treat, and manage your ailments. For more information on tackling your allergy symptoms this summer, visit our website!