Perennial Vs. Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis | Test Your Intolerance

When you’re allergic to something like pollen, it gets into your nose, irritating it; this causes symptoms like sneezing (among others) which, when grouped, are referred to as allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is characterised by inflammation inside your nose caused by allergens. In the UK, allergic rhinitis is a common condition affecting approximately one in every five people. Illnesses like the common cold cause brief episodes of allergic rhinitis. However, chronicle allergic rhinitis is caused by allergies, medical conditions, and overuse of certain drugs. For most people, allergic rhinitis is a lifelong condition that waxes and wanes over time. Fortunately, you can control symptoms using environmental measures, immunotherapy, and medications {1}.

What is the main cause of allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis results from a nasal reaction to small airborne particles known as allergens. If you suffer from allergic rhinitis, your immune system reacts to an allergen as if it were some virus or bacteria. This then causes the release of chemicals which cause the inside layer of your nose to swell and secrete excessive amounts of mucus. Allergens that trigger allergic rhinitis can be found indoors and outdoors.

What are the signs of allergic rhinitis?

The most common signs of allergic rhinitis include the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Blocked nasal passages
  • Postnasal drip
  • Swollen, dark, discoloured skin under the eyes
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Frequent awakenings when sleeping

How is a seasonal allergy different from a perennial allergy?

Seasonal allergies are acute, while perennial allergies are chronic. If you have seasonal allergies, your allergy symptoms appear and go away during the same season each year. For example, if you suffer from grass pollen allergy, you’ll experience allergic rhinitis symptoms every late spring or early summer when grass pollination mostly occurs. However, if you have perennial allergic rhinitis, your allergy symptoms may be chronic and persistent all year round, or they may appear sporadically throughout the year. Perennial allergic rhinitis means that you’re allergic to substances always in the air, like mould, dust mites, cockroaches and their droppings, or pet dander.

Both seasonal and perennial allergies are referred to as allergic rhinitis. Seasonal allergies are also often referred to as hay fever. However, both perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by the same thing, your immune system attacking an otherwise harmless substance it mistakes for an invader. Seasonal allergens include grass pollen, tree pollen, and weed pollen. However, perennial allergens include mould, dust mites, pet dander, and certain insects, including cockroaches.

How to treat seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis

The most accurate way to prevent developing allergic rhinitis symptoms is by avoiding allergens. However, avoiding them can be challenging. However, there are ways you can manage these allergens.

To manage seasonal allergies, you can try the following:

  • Wear a dust mask if you have to leave the house when pollen counts are high.
  • Always check your pollen count forecasts each morning before planning a day out.
  • Stay indoors on windy days.
  • Please don’t hang your clothes outside to dry, as they’ll accumulate pollen.
  • Shut the windows in your house and car to prevent pollen from getting in.
  • After being outdoors, shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes.
  • Take over-the-counter allergy medication if the symptoms get worse. 

For perennial or indoor allergens, you can manage them through:

  • Wearing a dust mask when cleaning your home.
  • Avoid having pets indoors.
  • Regularly washing your carpets, bedding, and blankets. At least every two weeks, wash your bedding in hot water.
  • Vacuum regularly to keep your home dust free, and use a damp cloth to wipe surfaces to ensure there’s no dust left behind.
  • Use allergy-proof mattresses and pillow covers.
  • Use a dehumidifier if mould growth is maintained between 40-45%. Ensure you limit the use of humidifiers.
  • Use an air purifier in your home.
  • Take over-the-counter medication if you need to
  • Don’t smoke

Different over-the-counter treatments are available for perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis. If you want to improve allergic rhinitis symptoms, irrigating your nasal passage using a saline solution will help. Another way to reduce the severity of your symptoms is by administering small amounts of allergy-triggering substances, which help build tolerance and reduce the intensity of the symptoms upon exposure.

Perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis testing

Whether you’re suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis, perennial allergic rhinitis, or both, the best way to deal with these is by nailing down the exact allergen triggering your immune system. When you pinpoint the allergen, it gets easier to manage the allergen and avoid it. For example, if you know which pollen affects you, you can easily nail the month when those pollen counts are high and check each day’s forecast before going outside. Get yourself an Allergy Test today and make your life easier. Living with allergic rhinitis can affect your life and productivity, interfering with it in many ways. However, once you know which allergen you’re dealing with, you can take care of yourself in advance, prepare how to run your day, purchase medications, and do everything in your power to prevent allergies from affecting your life.

Final thoughts on perennial vs seasonal allergic rhinitis

Even though varying allergens cause perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis, they still have the same symptoms and can affect your life. While seasonal allergies are acute, perennial allergies tend to be more chronic. In your journey to managing these allergies, taking an Allergy Test as the first step is important. An allergy test will help you know the allergen you’re dealing with; from there on, you can finally consider various ways to avoid and manage that allergen. For example, if you suffer from an animal dander allergy, you can let someone else adopt your pet or keep them in a different room so you don’t have to deal with allergy symptoms. Seasonal allergies are easy to manage since they go away after a month or two once pollination is over. However, perennial allergic rhinitis is hard to manage since these allergens are around all year round. However, knowing the allergens can help you devise ways to manage them.


  1. Greiner, A. N., Hellings, P. W., Rotiroti, G., & Scadding, G. K. (2011). Allergic rhinitis. The Lancet, 378(9809), 2112-2122. (