Spring is blooming, but so is the allergy season. Allergies are caused by the body’s reaction to potentially harmful substances called “allergens,” which trigger the immune system.
Allergies or allergic Rhinitis is an inflammation of the mucus membrane that lines the nose. This inflammation is often caused by pollen, dust, or other airborne substances. Allergic rhinitis can cause sneezing, an itchy or runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, and a sore or scratchy throat. Frequent headaches are common as well. People typically feel these symptoms immediately after they are exposed to an allergen.
Some may also experience itchy red eyes known as allergic conjunctivitis. The eyeball is covered by a membrane called the conjunctiva. This reaction occurs when the eyes or conjunctiva are exposed to pollen or mold spores.
What causes allergic rhinitis?
When the body comes in contact with an allergen, it releases histamine—a natural chemical that protects your body from allergens. Histamine triggers the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Pollen is a common allergen, but other causes of allergies in children include:
- Grass or weed pollen (more common in summer and fall)
- Dust mites
- Animal dander (old skin)
- Cat saliva
Some symptoms can vary with the change of seasons.
Types of allergic rhinitis
Did you know there are two types of allergic rhinitis? Seasonal allergies are caused by outdoor pollen and usually occur during the spring and fall seasons. Perennial allergies can last year-round and are caused by indoor allergens, like pet dander and dust mites.
How do you know if someone has allergies?
People with allergic rhinitis may have dark circles under their eyes. They may break out in hives. They may also experience eczema-type symptoms, like extremely dry, itchy skin that can blister and weep.
People who have a family history of allergies are also at risk of developing allergic rhinitis.
Is it a cold or allergies?
A cold doesn’t cause an itchy nose or eyes. Colds will give you a fever and body aches. They usually last a few days.
Allergies, on the other hand, have a pattern of occurrence and usually last an entire season.
Treatment options for allergic rhinitis
You can treat allergic rhinitis using medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, and nasal sprays. You can also try home remedies, like using an air filter, humidifier, and removing dust and dander weekly.