What is Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergy season is here once again and millions of Americans are looking for allergy relief at their local pharmacy. Over 40 to 60 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is inflammation of the nasal membranes. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
Allergic rhinitis is also called hay fever and it can be seasonal or perennial (year round). Allergic rhinitis itself is not life-threatening unless it is accompanied by severe asthma or anaphylaxis.
Management of Allergic Rhinitis
The management of allergic rhinitis consists of 3 major categories of treatment:
Environmental Control Measures and Allergen Avoidance
Environmental control measures and allergen avoidance involves avoidance of known allergens (substances that trigger symptoms) and avoidance of nonspecific, irritants or triggers. Pollens and outdoor molds can be avoided by keeping the windows and doors of the house closed on days that tend to be dry, sunny, and windy. Recirculating air with conditioning can be helpful. Patients who are allergic to pollens usually require some other form of management in addition to avoidance because it is difficult to avoid pollen allergens completely.
Allergy medicine for reducing or preventing symptoms
Patients with intermittent symptoms are often treated with oral antihistamines, decongestants, or both. Patients with chronic symptoms benefit from regular use of intranasal steroid spray. Daily use of oral antihistamines, decongestants, or both can be considered instead of nasal steroids. The newer second-generation (non-sedating) antihistamines are usually preferred to avoid sedation and other adverse effects associated with first generation antihistamines. Antihistamines are available without a prescription (over-the-counter or OTC).