Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis | Test Your Intolerance

Allergic rhinitis, known as hay fever, results from outdoor and indoor allergens. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, however, is a result of pollen from weeds, trees, and grass affecting one’s immune system, even though these substances are usually harmless to other people. Allergic rhinitis can occur seasonally or all year round, depending on the allergens that trigger your immune system. Allergic rhinitis is quite common in the UK, affecting around one in every five people {1}.

Often, allergic rhinitis runs in families. Let’s say a parent or both suffer from allergic rhinitis; it’s most likely for their children to suffer from the same. Additionally, people suffering from allergic rhinitis often have an increased risk of developing conditions like asthma and other allergies. Suffering from allergic rhinitis also increases your chances of developing sleep disorders, chronic sinusitis, and ear infections.

What triggers seasonal allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis occurs when you have inflammation inside your nose due to an allergen. Trees, weeds, and grass pollen cause allergic rhinitis. Other allergens that can cause allergic rhinitis include mould, dusk, and animal dander. Allergic rhinitis has cold-like symptoms, which include a runny nose, watery eyes, congestion, sneezing, and other symptoms. Because of these symptoms, exposure to allergens can make you miserable, affect your performance, and generally interfere with your life. However, avoiding and managing these triggers can prevent you from getting allergic rhinitis symptoms.

Allergic rhinitis symptoms show up when your immune system identifies a harmless airborne substance and decides that it’s harmful, thus protecting itself by releasing antibodies to protect itself. The next time your immune system comes in contact with these substances again, the antibodies signal your immune system to release chemicals like histamines into your bloodstream, causing the reactions that we term allergic rhinitis symptoms.

Common allergic rhinitis risk factors

Even though allergic rhinitis can affect just about anyone, certain risk factors increase your likelihood of suffering from allergic rhinitis. These include:

  • Genes: If you have blood relatives suffering from allergies or asthma.
  • Environment: The environment you spend your time in increases your risk. Like being exposed to smoke, strong odours can irritate your nose lining. Also, working or living in an environment with constant exposure to allergens like animal dander or dust mites.
  • Having a mother who smoked during your first year of life.
  • Having atopic dermatitis or eczema

Even though one can develop seasonal allergic rhinitis at any age, most people who develop it during childhood tend to outgrow it later. However, in some cases, the allergy goes into remission for a few years and then comes back later in life. Additionally, if you develop allergies after turning twenty, you may continue to have the allergy into your middle age or even longer.

How do I know if I have allergic rhinitis?

Even though allergic rhinitis symptoms vary from person to person, certain symptoms are prevalent and will let you know an allergen in your immediate environment is affecting you. These include:

  • Stuffy and runny nose (congestion)
  • Sneezing
  • Watery, itchy, red eyes
  • Itchy nose, the roof of the mouth or throat
  • Mucus streaming down the back of your throat
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Swollen and bruised appearing skin under the eyes

How long does seasonal allergic rhinitis last?

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis last as long as you’re exposed to the allergen. For example, if you suffer from birch tree pollen allergy, you will suffer the symptoms upon exposure to its pollen. However, once the pollination season is over, you will be living symptoms-free only if you have another allergy outdoors or indoors. That is why the best way to manage seasonal allergic rhinitis is by avoiding being outside or opening doors and windows so that pollen won’t find its way to you.

What is the best treatment for allergic rhinitis?

The treatment you decide to take for allergic rhinitis is dependent on various factors, which include:

  • The severity of your symptoms
  • Whether you’re suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis or perennial allergic rhinitis.
  • Symptoms, age, and medical conditions

If you have asthma and allergic rhinitis, treating rhinitis could help control asthma symptoms.

Mild allergic rhinitis: Reducing exposure to allergens and using a nasal saline wash could help manage your symptoms. You can also opt to use a non-sedating antihistamine like cetirizine as needed.

Moderate to severe allergic rhinitis requires a prescription drug and environmental control measures. Intranasal steroids and oral antihistamines are the easiest to find over the counter in such situations. Intranasal steroids help with relieving congestion, runny nose, and itchy eyes. You can also use eye drops when your eye symptoms get worse. However, experts recommend not using eye drops for prolonged periods.

Is allergic rhinitis a seasonal allergy?

Allergens cause allergic rhinitis, l and even though it’s also known as hay fever, this doesn’t mean that a fever accompanies it. Allergic rhinitis is often a temporary condition that is only active when exposed to allergens. So, it can last for a day or even months as long as you’re exposed to allergens. There are various types of rhinitis. These are:

  • Allergic rhinitis: caused by allergens
  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis: is caused by pollen from trees, weeds, and grasses. This rhinitis only occurs in the spring, autumn, or summer when trees, weeds, and grasses pollen are in the air.
  • Perennial allergic rhinitis: caused by allergens present all year round. The main allergens causing this rhinitis include cockroach debris, mould, dust mites, and animal dander.
  • Non-allergic rhinitis is not caused by allergens but by chemicals, smoke, or other irritating environmental conditions. Physical defects such as a deviated septum, hormonal changes, and overuse of nasal spray can cause it. Sometimes, even certain medications cause it. The real cause of non-allergic rhinitis is unclear, but the symptoms are similar to those of an allergy.
  • Infectious rhinitis is the most common type of rhinitis, and it’s also known as upper respiratory infection or a common cold.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis testing

Often, more than one type of tree, grass, or weed pollinates in the same season. That’s why when you suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, it’s important to know the exact allergen that causes these symptoms. This way, you can manage them accordingly by avoiding areas with these plants or learning about the start and pollination season of the exact allergen-causing plant and finding ways to manage it. To get your diagnosis, take an Allergy Test. This test will give you the exact cause of your allergic rhinitis, and you’ll finally have the answers to help you manage your condition.

References

  1. Allergic rhinitis. NHS inform (2022). (https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/ears-nose-and-throat/allergic-rhinitis)