Allergic Rhinitis

Consists of mostly symptoms concerning the nose, which come as a consequence of coming in contact with an allergen (dust, pollens, animal hair/fur etc). During inhalation, specific domains of the allergen lodge in the nasal mucous and later diffuse into nasal tissue. Histamine gets secreted in the nasal tissue, which causes itchiness in the affected tissue, increased secretion of mucous, rash etc. Rhinitis affects 1 in 6 people.

Rhinitis is defined as the presence of the following symptoms for longer than 1 hour a day and which lasts for over 2 weeks:

  1. Nasal congestion
  2. Nasal secretions
  3. Sneezing

A physician must determine if the rhinitis is seasonal, always present, or related to one’s workplace environment.

Congestion usually occurs in the early morning or late in the evening, and can cause sleeping habit disruption. It is often coupled with itchiness of the throat, nose or eyes. In these cases, the patient must remain vigilant, since the sinuses could be affected, or a blockage of the Eustachian tube may occur. Patients may experience loss of their sense of smell, fatigue which could also be related to the sleep cycle disruption. These symptoms are more frequent and severe among allergic rhinitis cases which are present all year long. During diagnosis, the physician must differentiate between allergic rhinitis and other diseases that are associated with cold symptoms:

  • Idiopathic cold symptoms
  • Vasomotor cold symptoms
  • Hormonal cold symptoms
  • Medicinal cold symptoms
  • Food induced cold symptoms
  • Atrophic cold symptoms
  • Infectious cold symptoms, etc

Identify allergen responsible, eliminate from daily routine.

Medical Treatment

  1. Nasal decongestants (drop medicine to induce vasoconstriction in the nasal blood vessels
  2. Oral antihistamines (which suppress itchiness, sneezing, cold symptoms and other symptoms, but don’t relieve nasal congestion)
  3. Local and oral cortisone medication can also be used
  4. Depending on the scale of the condition, pumps with low cortisone concentration solutions may be used for inhalation
  5. Immunotherapy
  6. Surgery (to improve nasal function and correct for any congenital defects)


Read more about Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Aug 2017
Medical Author: Dr. med. Diana Hysi