Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

Characteristic symptoms include repetitive sneezing; rhinorrhea (runny nose); post-nasal drip; nasal congestion; pruritic (itchy) eyes, ears, nose or throat; and generalized fatigue. Symptoms can also include wheezing, eye tearing, sore throat, and impaired smell. A chronic cough may be secondary to postnasal drip, but should not be mistaken for asthma. Sinus headaches and ear plugging are also common

Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis

After a medical history, your physician will perform a physical exam. Often, the nasal mucosa (lining of the nose) is pale or violaceous because of the engorged veins. Nasal polyps may be seen. Classic signs of allergic rhinitis may include swelling of the eyelids, injected sclerae (the whites of the eyes may be red), allergic shiners (darkened areas under the lower eyelids thought to result from venous pooling of blood), and extra skin folds in the lower eyelids.
Skin testing may confirm the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis. Initial skin testing is performed by the prick method. Intradermal testing is performed if results of prick testing are negative.

Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis

(see also SELF-CARE)
The goal of treatment is to reduce the allergy symptoms. Avoidance of the allergen or minimization of contact with it is the best treatment, but some relief may be found with the following medications.

Antihistamines and Decongestants
Oral decongestants alone may be helpful, including pseudoephedrine. Antihistamines are available as tablets, capsules and liquids, and may or may not be combined with decongestants. Common antihistamines include brompheniramine or chlorpheniramine, and clemastine. Non-sedating (less likely to cause drowsiness) long-acting antihistamines include loratidine and fexofenadine.


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