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HEALTH HINTS

Beyond a Sneeze: What is Allergic Rhinitis?

"An in-depth look at allergic rhinitis"
By: Ericka PingolBeyond a Sneeze: What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Sneezing may be a common phenomenon among us humans, but it becomes an annoyance in the long run. A simple sneeze may be caused by the common cold but more often than not, it is caused by allergic rhinitis too!

Every so often, an allergic rhinitis can get in the way of our everyday life. Harmless as it seems, this affects our day to day quality of living and productivity. An allergic reaction occurs when exposed to substances called allergens. Allergens are airborne substances which are generally harmless but can cause defense reaction from the body.

Allergic rhinitis affects approximately 20 percent of people of all ages. The risk of developing allergic rhinitis is much higher in people with asthma or eczema and in people who have a family history of asthma or rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis may be caused by animal dander, dust bite, pollen, plants as well as things in the workplace such as chemicals, grain and wood dust.

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are as follows:

  • Sneezing over and over again, especially after you wake up in the morning
  • A runny nose
  • A tickle in your throat or coughing caused by postnasal drip
  • Watery, itchy eyes. This may be allergic pinkeye
  • Itchy ears, nose, and throat
  • A stuffy nose, possibly with sniffing. This is the most common symptom in children.
  • Breathing through your mouth because your nose is blocked
  • Rubbing your nose. Children tend to do this
  • Eyes being sensitive to light
  • Feeling tired, grumpy, or moody
  • Not sleeping well
  • A long-lasting (chronic) cough
  • A pressure in your ear or having a hard time hearing
  • Discomfort or pain in your face
  • Dark circles or patches under your eyes (allergic shiners)

The treatment of allergic rhinitis includes lessened exposure to allergens and other triggers. It is also important to always have medication at hand to prevent other symptoms from occurring and interrupting your everyday routine. Over-the-counter medications for allergic rhinitis are available such as once-daily Cetirizine or Loratadine and can save you from one more sneeze and you can go about your day worry-free!

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