IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR . . .
Allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies or “hayfever”) affects approximately 20% of people of all ages. The risk of developing allergic rhinitis is much higher in individuals who also have asthma or eczema or have a family history of asthma or rhinitis.
Rhinitis refers to inflammation of the nasal passages which can cause a variety of symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, post nasal drainage and itching. For most people this is a lifelong condition that varies in severity over their lifetime. Most people develop symptoms in childhood or young adulthood and symptoms are typically worse in the 30s and 40s.
Some people have allergy symptoms year around (due to dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander and mold/fungi) and others are seasonal due to pollens from grasses, weeds, trees and spores from fungi/mold.
Treatment involves reducing exposure to allergens in combination with medication therapy. There are a few easy steps that can decrease exposure to allergens. Taking a shower prior to sleeping can help reduce the allergens in the bedroom during the worst part of allergy season. Do not allow pets to sleep in the same bed as a person who is allergic to them.
There are many over-the-counter medications to help with symptoms due to allergic rhinitis. It is always a good idea to read labels and check with your medical provider before using over-the-counter medication, especially if you take other medications or have underlying health conditions.