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Today in Health & Wellness

Allergic Rhinitis

Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult

Common name

Hay fever, nasal allergies, pollinosis (Eng.)

Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is a reaction to airborne allergens. When a susceptible person inhales a specific allergen, the body responds by releasing histamine, a substance that causes itching, swelling and mucus production.

May occur seasonally (hay fever) or throughout the year (perennial rhinitis).

  • Nasal stuffiness and congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensation of plugged ears
  • Scratchy throat
  • Loss or alteration of smell
  • Itchy nose, eyes, ears and palate
  • Runny nose (rhinorrhea) and postnasal drip
Risk Factors
  • Common outdoor allergens, such as airborne tree, grass and weed pollens or mold (seasonal allergic rhinitis)
  • Common indoor allergens, such as animal dander (dried skin flakes and saliva), indoor mold or droppings from cockroaches or dust mites (perennial allergic rhinitis.)
  • Family History
Commonly Prescribed Drugs


  • Antihistamines antagonize the effects of histamine. Side Effects: Drowsiness, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, stomach upset, vision changes, irritability, dry mouth, and nose. Consult a doctor or a pharmacist if the following conditions are present: glaucoma, liver/kidney disease, epilepsy. Drug Interaction: Not to be taken simultaneously w/ CNS depressants, MAOI, erythromycin, cimetidine, ketoconazole.


  • Corticosteroids provide relief for inflamed areas of the body. They lessen swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions. Side Effects: Long-term use may cause weight gain, stomach ulcers, sleeping difficulties, increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar, delayed wound healing, reduced ability to fight infection.


  • Decongestants reduce the blood supply to the swollen membranes by narrowing the blood vessels. Decongestant nasal sprays and nose drops may cause a problem called rebound congestion if used repeatedly over several days. Drug Interactions: Do not use w/ MAOI, antidepressants, beta-blockers.

Leukotriene Antagonists

  • Leukotrienes Antagonist reduce inflammation
Treatment and Management
  • Limit exposure to offending allergen
  • Control dust and dust mites at home
  • Use an air conditioner or air purifier with a special high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter
  • Avoid carpet, upholstered furniture, and heavy drapes that collect dust
  • Remove "dust collectors" from bedrooms, i.e. stuffed toys, wall hangings, books, knickknacks, and artificial flowers
  • Wash bedding, including pillowcases and mattress covers, in hot water every 2 weeks
  • The most effective way to reduce dust mite allergens is to cover mattresses, box springs, and pillows with allergen-proof covers, and wash them regularly.
  • Keep pets outdoors
  • Avoid smoking
Home Remedies
  • Steam inhalation relieves nasal stuffiness and headache.
  • Inhaling pine and eucalyptus oil in a cotton ball can help clear a stuffy nose.
  • Eye baths are good for itchy and watery eyes.
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