Conditions InDepth: Allergic Rhinitis
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
An allergy is the overreaction of the immune system to something that’s harmless. Allergic rhinitis is irritation and swelling in the nose. A chain of events starts when allergens are breathed in from the air. The most common are from grasses, trees, weeds, or animals.
Once in the nose, mast cells release histamine. This causes swelling in the blood vessels and mucous membranes in the lining of the nose. A reaction can happen quickly and involves:
This is a very common problem for millions of people in the US. But, they don’t happen to all people.
Types of Allergic Rhinitis
There are 2 types:
Problems Linked to Allergic Rhinitis
In most cases, allergies are mild and only cause discomfort. But for many people, they can be tied to:
What are the risk factors for allergic rhinitis?
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?
What are the treatments for allergic rhinitis?
Are there screening tests for allergic rhinitis?
How can I reduce my risk of allergic rhinitis?
What questions should I ask my doctor?
Where can I get more information about allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: https://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis. Accessed October 15, 2018.
Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116217/Allergic-rhinitis. Updated July 9, 2018. Accessed October 15, 2018.
Allergic rhinitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/immunology-allergic-disorders/allergic,-autoimmune,-and-other-hypersensitivity-disorders/allergic-rhinitis. Updated January 2018. Accessed October 15, 2018.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 10/15/2018
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