What are the Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is an allergic response to airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mold spores. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can vary in severity and may include:

  • Sneezing: Frequent bouts of sneezing, often in rapid succession.
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose: A runny or congested nose is a common symptom. The discharge may be clear and watery.
  • Itchy or Watery Eyes: Itchiness and tearing of the eyes are common symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
  • Itchy Throat or Ears: Some individuals may experience itching in the throat or ears.
  • Postnasal Drip: Excess mucus production can lead to postnasal drip, which can cause a cough or throat clearing.
  • Coughing: A persistent, dry cough may be present, especially if postnasal drip is an issue.
  • Fatigue: Allergic rhinitis can lead to fatigue and reduced energy levels.
  • Headache: Some people may experience headaches due to sinus congestion and pressure.
  • Dark Circles Under the Eyes: Known as allergic shiners, these dark circles are often associated with chronic allergic rhinitis.
  • Decreased Sense of Smell: A diminished sense of smell can occur when nasal passages are congested.
  • Snoring: Nasal congestion can lead to snoring, particularly when sleeping.
  • Irritability: Ongoing symptoms can lead to irritability and difficulty concentrating.

Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial, depending on the allergens involved. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is commonly triggered by pollen and occurs during specific times of the year, while perennial allergic rhinitis is typically triggered by year-round allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and mold.

It’s important to note that allergic rhinitis is a common condition and is usually not serious. However, if symptoms are severe or persistently interfere with your daily life, it’s advisable to seek medical evaluation and treatment. Management of allergic rhinitis may include allergen avoidance strategies, over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, and other allergy medications. In some cases, allergy testing and allergen-specific immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be recommended to desensitize the immune system to specific allergens.