Allergic Rhinitis

Now while most people know what an allergy is there are very few people who know what the term rhinitis means. In fact a rhinitis is simply the medical word for an inflammation of the inside lining of the nose. So allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal lining as a result of an allergy. Allergic rhinitis is the most common disease in America and affects 20% of the adult population.

So what is the problem? Well when someone has allergic rhinitis they will most commonly complain of a blocked and runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. While some people may experience this condition all year round it is certainly more common in the spring when there are many pollens around. There are many triggers that can set off allergic rhinitis and some of the more common ones are dust mites, pollen, grasses and cat fur. The typical patient will visit the doctor having used the occasional dose of nasal steroid spray and perhaps some antihistamine. They will often say that they had asthma as a child and that they do not have any allergies to medications. If this sounds like you then you should visit your doctor and get them to examine you for allergic rhinitis.

When the doctor examines you they may have a look up the nose with a special device called a thuddicum’s speculum, using a headlight. Or they may use a more sophisticated piece of equipment known as a nasendoscope. If you simply visit your family doctor and not an ENT surgeon then they may look with a tool called an otoscope that is usually used to look in the ears, this is because the other tools can be very expensive and so only a specialist will have access to these. Whatever instrument they use to look up the nose the doctor should see clear mucus and an inflamed nasal passage if you suffer from allergic rhinitis. In order to investigate which triggers may be the cause of this condition you can undergo a test known as a skin prick test. In this test they place various triggers on the skin of your forearm or back and leave them for some time in order to see if they cause a reaction. In terms of treatment there are some people who use antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays and both of these are quite effective. Antihistamines are useful for getting rid of intermittent symptoms whereas the nasal steroid sprays are best if you have ongoing symptoms. You can also get surgery to remove some of the tissue in your nose that is becoming inflamed. Both of these treatment methods are effective, however it is recommended that you try medication before opting for surgery.

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