Seasonal Allergies – Allergic Rhinitis

“Rhinitis” refers to inflammation of the nasal passages. The inflammation can cause a variety of annoying symptoms including sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, runny nose, and postnasal drip.  Some forms of rhinitis are caused by respiratory tract infections with viruses, such as the common cold. This type or rhinitis is usually a short episode. Allergic rhinitis refers to rhinitis caused by allergies to certain things in the air around you which can be seasonal – like pollen. Hence the term “seasonal allergies.” Fortunately, symptoms can usually be controlled with a combination of environmental measures, medications, and possibly immunotherapy.

Hay fever is another name for allergic rhinitis.

According to kidshealth.org, up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, have some type of allergy. In fact, allergies cause about 2 million missed school days each year.

What Causes Seasonal Allergies?

Allergic rhinitis is a common disorder that is strongly linked to asthma and conjunctivitis. It is a long-standing condition that can go undetected. This type of rhinitis is caused by a nasal reaction to small airborne particles called allergens. In some people, these particles also cause reactions in the lungs (asthma) and eyes (allergic conjunctivitis).

Common Airborne Allergens

Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne (carried through the air):

  • Pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds (seasonal)
  • Molds, dust mites, pet dander, cockroaches (perennial) 

Common Signs and Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies

Allergy symptoms, which depend on the substance involved, can affect your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive system. Symptoms vary from person to person.

Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. In the case of seasonal allergic rhinitis, the symptoms are milder. 

Symptoms may include:

Nose: sneezing, itching of the nose, runny, stuffy nose

Eyes: itchy eyes or roof of the mouth, watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)

Throat and Ears: sore throat, hoarseness, itching of the throat or ears

Sleep: mouth breathing, disruptions in sleep, daytime tiredness

How Is Allergic Rhinitis Diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose allergies in several ways.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam and review your symptoms. They will ask you questions about where you were or what you were doing when the symptoms started or just before. What time of year was it when you noticed the symptoms?  They may ask about home, work, or school environments. Lastly, a blood test and skin test can confirm or diagnose allergens your doctor suspects you have.

Treatments for Seasonal Allergies

In general, there is no cure for allergies. The best way to avoid allergies is to stay away from whatever triggers the reaction. For example, stay indoors on dry, windy days. Rain helps clear pollen from the air so venturing outside after a rain is good plan. Try to avoid chores that may stir up pollen such as mowing the lawn or pulling weeds. Alternatively, wear a pollen mask when doing these activities.

Your local TV, radio station, or weather site should post pollen forecasts and current levels.  Especially during heigh levels, keep doors and windows closed tight and avoid early morning outdoor activities when pollen counts are highest. 

Other options that may help include using high-efficiency filters in your home furnace and use air conditioning when the windows need to be closed due to high pollen counts. Add a HEPA filter to your bedroom.

In addition to the above, there are treatment options available.

Medications for Allergies

Allergy treatment often includes medications like antihistamines to control symptoms. What your doctor recommends depends on the severity of your allergies.

Some over the counter (OTC) allergy medications include:

  • older antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Levocetirizine (Xyzal)
  • fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • loratadine (Claritin), desloratadine (Clarinex)
  • decongestants (Afrin, Suphedrine PE, Sudafed)

Sinus rinses have also been shown to help with seasonal allergies. Look for a squeeze bottle or neti-pot at your local pharmacy. These items flush allergens and mucus out of your nasal passages.

If these items aren’t providing enough relief, it is likely time to visit your physician or health care provider and discuss the possibility of a prescription medication remedy:

Oral Medications for Allergies

Eye Drops for Allergies

Nasal Spray for Allergies

Inhaler for Allergies

Immunotherapy

For severe allergies or allergies not completely relieved by other treatment, your doctor might recommend allergen immunotherapy. This treatment involves a series of injections of purified allergen extracts, usually given over a period of a few years.

Another form of immunotherapy is a tablet that’s placed under the tongue (sublingual) until it dissolves. Sublingual medications are used to treat some pollen allergies.

Canada Online Health works with licensed dispensaries. There are no hidden costs, no membership fees, just great savings on all your prescription needs.

Next time before you place order, especially on brand name medications, call us to see if we can match the price and help you keep more money in your pocket.

*Some commonly ordered medications will save you money for Seasonal Allergies include Dymista, Nasonex, Ipratropium Inhaler, Omnaris, Singulair, Beconase AQ Nasal Spray

References:

  • com
  • biomedcentral.commayoclinic.org
  • org

If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this medical condition or process and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress, please contact emergency services (such as 911).

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