What Is Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis?

It is an illness characterized by inflammation and irritation in the nose, eyes, throat and sinus after the sufferer is exposed to allergens such as pollen, dust, smoke and chemicals which do not typically affect most other people.

Are Hay Fever and Allergic Rhinitis the Same?

Yes, generally. Hay fever refers to allergic rhinitis during the hay season or the pollen season while allergic rhinitis can refer to perennial allergic rhinitis, which is all-year-round, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, which is during a certain season, such as the hay season.   

How do You Know You Have Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever?

If you sneeze easily and develop a runny nose quickly and your eyes easily get itchy and watery and later your nose gets stuffy as soon as you breathe in dust, smoke, pollen and other allergens, most probably you have this chronic illness.

Some also have persistent coughing and other symptoms similar to cold.

Why Do You Have Allergic Rhinitis?

Just like other illnesses, you were probably born with the disposition to have this illness. You probably inherited it, or you probably developed it when you were exposed to substances that weakened your resistance to allergens.

Many studies have found that people who have asthma also have allergic rhinitis at the same time or develop allergic rhinitis after being cured of asthma. Some people who have allergic rhinitis develop asthma.

How Do You Treat Allergic Rhinitis?

Up to now, there is still no definitive treatment for
allergic rhinitis. All that have been developed are drugs or devices to stop the symptoms, but not the illness.

The most common drugs used in treating allergic rhinitis symptoms are over-the-counter antihistamines like Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl and Clemastine.

Some of these antihistamines are sedating, so if you are driving or operating dangerous equipment, do not take antihistamines. If you need to take some, take non-sedating antihistamines.

Many people also use decongestant sprays to reduce swelling in the nasal and sinus tissues. Some improve their breathing, but others do not so they have stopped using sprays.

Some people have had treatments such as immunotherapy, which includes weekly injections of certain allergens into your body to gradually introduce these allergens into your body to enable your system to increase its ability to resist these allergens.

If doctors find that your allergic rhinitis is linked to an abnormality or obstruction in your nasal system, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the obstruction.

There are other treatments which are being tried by a lot of allergic rhinitis sufferers and are being studied by researchers. Among these are:

herbal medicine
dietary changes

One of these alternative treatments is the Bionase phototherapy device, which you can read about in this article on phototherapy as a treatment for allergic rhinitis or hay fever.

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