Allergic Rhinitis

Also known as: Hay fever, Allergies

Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction that affects the nose, and often the eyes. It’s often known as nasal allergies. Nasal allergies are often due to things in the environment that are breathed in. Depending what you are sensitive to, nasal allergies may occur only during certain seasons. Or they may occur year round. Common indoor allergens include house dust mites, mold, cockroaches, and pet dander. Outdoor allergens include pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. 

Symptoms include a drippy, stuffy, and itchy nose. They also include sneezing and red and itchy eyes. You may feel tired more often. Severe allergies may also affect your breathing and trigger a condition called asthma. 

Tests can be done to see what allergens are affecting you. You may be referred to an allergy specialist for testing and further evaluation.

Home care

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines to help relieve allergy symptoms. These may include oral medicines, nasal sprays, or eye drops.

Ask your provider for advice on how to avoid substances that you are allergic to. Below are a few tips for each type of allergen.

Pet dander:

  • Do not have pets with fur and feathers.

  • If you can't avoid having a pet, keep it out of your bedroom and off upholstered furniture.

Pollen:

  • When pollen counts are high, keep windows of your car and home closed. If possible, use an air conditioner instead.

  • Wear a filter mask when mowing or doing yard work.

House dust mites:

  • Wash bedding every week in warm water and detergent and dry on a hot setting.

  • Cover the mattress, box spring, and pillows with allergy covers. 

  • If possible, sleep in a room with no carpet, curtains, or upholstered furniture.

Cockroaches:

  • Store food in sealed containers.

  • Remove garbage from the home promptly.

  • Fix water leaks

Mold:

  • Keep humidity low by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner. Keep the dehumidifier and air conditioner clean and free of mold.

  • Clean moldy areas with bleach and water.

In general:

  • Vacuum once or twice a week. If possible, use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

  • Do not smoke. Avoid cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke is an irritant that can make symptoms worse.

Follow-up care

Follow up as advised by the healthcare provider or our staff. If you were referred to an allergy specialist, make this appointment promptly.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if the following occur:

  • Coughing or wheezing

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Raised red bumps (hives)

  • Continuing symptoms, new symptoms, or worsening symptoms

Call 911 if you have:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Severe swelling of the face or severe itching of the eyes or mouth