Does your nose get stuffy frequently even though you don’t have a cold? Do you sneeze a lot, or are your eyes and nose itchy more often than they should be? If so, you could have what’s called Allergic Rhinitis, a condition that affects up to 60 million Americans, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).
How does a person develop Allergic Rhinitis? It happens when their immune system is sensitized and overreacts to something in their environment that doesn’t normally cause problems for most people. Allergic Rhinitis is also known as “Hay Fever,” although a person doesn’t have to be exposed to hay to develop symptoms, nor do you need to have a fever as the name suggests.
Allergic Rhinitis can be seasonal or it can occur year-round. For example, if it’s seasonal, it can occur in the summer, early fall, or spring. Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis is usually triggered by airborne mold, and pollens from trees, grass, and weeds.
Perennial or year-round Allergic Rhinitis involves symptoms that last all year. This type is usually caused by mold, cockroaches, pet hair or dander, and dust mites. However, even unknown food allergies can cause perennial nasal symptoms, though this is rare.
Some people will experience Seasonal and Perennial Allergic Rhinitis, with symptoms worsening during specific times of year. Rhinitis can also have non-allergic causes, such as cigarette smoke, perfumes, household cleaning products, and other toxic substances that produce strong odors.
Symptoms of Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
- Itchy eyes
- Itchy skin
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Fatigue (this is often caused by poor quality sleep due to stuffy nose)
Allergic Rhinitis is often associated with sleep disorders, which can lead to limited activities, concentration problems, irritability, fatigue, auto accidents, work-related accidents, missed days from work and school, memory problems and much more. The most effective way to diagnose and treat Allergic Rhinitis is to make an appointment with an allergist, who may recommend a skin test to identify the exact allergens.
Contact the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia today to schedule your appointment!