Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)

Allergic rhinitis develops when the body’s immune system recognizes an otherwise normal, harmless substance as an intruder. This allergy-inducing substance is known as an allergen and it causes allergic symptoms. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is commonly known as hay fever. It is a common disorder that affects between 10% to 30% of the U.S. population (World Allergy Organization).

Patients who are concerned they may be allergic to a certain substance or are looking for relief from symptoms should call today to discuss allergy testing. The providers at Skin and Laser Dermatology Center can assist you in determining which substances you are allergic to and the best treatment plan to bring you relief. Call today at (703) 893-1114 or request an appointment online to hear about our allergy testing and treatment options.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Rhinitis is the inflammation and swelling of the inner lining of the nose (mucous membrane). It usually results from the common cold or seasonal allergies.

Yes, because there are two types of rhinitis: allergic and non-allergic. Nonallergic rhinitis affects at least one out of three people with rhinitis symptoms. Nonallergic rhinitis differs from allergic rhinitis in that the immune system is not involved. Nonallergic rhinitis usually affects adults and has year round symptoms, in particular a runny nose and nasal congestion.

Common allergens include pollen, mold or fungi, tiny flecks of skin (dander), saliva, and animal urine from pets, dust mites, food, and medications.

Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal, year-long (perennial), or occupational. Allergies to certain pollens can cause symptoms to begin or worsen in the spring, summer, or fall. However, allergies to dust mites, cockroaches, and dander from pets might worsen in the winter, when windows are more likely to be shut.

One or more of these symptoms may occur immediately after coming into contact with an allergen. Common symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Coughing
  • Sore or scratchy throat
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Frequent headaches
  • Hives
  • Excessive fatigue

Allergic rhinitis symptoms can last as long as you are exposed to the affecting allergen, typically several weeks.

Yes, patients with the following may have an increased risk of developing allergic rhinitis:

  • Having other allergies or asthma (atopic diseases)
  • Having atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Being closely related to someone who has allergies or asthma
  • Living or working in close proximity to allergens

There is no way to prevent getting allergic rhinitis. If it occurs, the best thing to do is see an allergy provider to discuss allergy testing, treatment options, and lower exposure to allergens that cause symptoms.

Allergic rhinitis is important to diagnose and treat because it is associated with sleep disorders and fatigue, irritability, and decreased concentration and focus. Allergic rhinitis symptoms can appear similar to those of the common cold or in severe cases, like attention deficit disorder, which is why seeing a trained allergy provider is important.

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