The term “rhinitis” describes nasal inflammation that can result in runny, congestion, nasal itch, sneezing, postnasal drainage, and in some patients, associated eye symptoms such as itch, tearing or redness (conjunctivitis). It represents one of the most frequently encountered chronic conditions for which people seek medical treatment.
Non-allergic rhinitis or chronic rhinitis comes on rather suddenly and causes more nasal stuffiness and post nasal drip than itchy or runny nose. It is also worsened by changes in the weather, particularly to cooler and damper. Some people’s symptoms are triggered by smells or fumes (room air fresheners, perfumes, smoke). Antihistamines don’t help non-allergic rhinitis, but nasal sprays do help.
Studies show that between 24-28 percent of people suffer with allergic rhinitis accounting for about three percent of all doctor visits. The direct and indirect costs just for this type of rhinitis exceed 10 billion USD, while non-allergic rhinitis also has measurable economic impact.
Although allergic rhinitis alone is not life-threatening, its impact on quality of life and both work and school productivity can be substantial. Allergic rhinitis is the leading cause of ‘presenteeism’ a condition where the sufferer goes to work or school, but are not able to function normally. People with allergic rhinitis report a worse quality of life than asthma patients. Also, rhinitis can aggravate other chronic conditions such as otitis, sinusitis, and asthma.
The main treatments for allergic rhinitis are avoiding allergens, managing symptoms with medicine and other home treatment, and, in some cases, getting immunotherapy (such as allergy shots). How often you need treatment depends on how often you have symptoms.
It is important to avoid allergens that are causing your symptoms. By doing this, you may be able to reduce your allergy symptoms and manage them without medicine or with fewer medicines.
You may need to clean your house often to get rid of dust, animal dander, or molds. Or you may need to stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
A thorough history and physical examination are the foundations of establishing the precise diagnosis, coupled with allergen skin testing. If avoidance and medications aren’t controlling the problem, ask your doctor or allergist about how allergy shots can change your life.
Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) is a treatment used to relieve allergic respiratory conditions such as allergic rhinitis (“hay fever”) or allergic asthma. This treatment involves scheduled injections of purified extracts of inhalant allergens (e.g., pollens, mold spores, dust mites, animal dander) to which you are allergic. Allergic sensitivities are confirmed by skin or blood allergy testing.
Over 100 years of experience has proven allergen immunotherapy to be effective and safe for treatment of respiratory allergies. If you suffer from allergy or asthma and your symptoms cannot be adequately controlled by medications or allergen avoidance, allergy shots could be the best treatment for you. Ask your doctor or allergist if you are a good candidate for this therapy.