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RhinitisWhat is allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is commonly called hay fever, even though symptoms can be triggered by far more than just hay. Allergic rhinitis technically encompasses almost any allergic reaction that includes nasal symptoms, such as a runny nose, post-nasal drip, or an itchy nose. These symptoms are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as itchy or watery eyes, but it’s the nasal symptoms that qualify an allergic reaction as allergic rhinitis.

How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?
Allergists can often tell that a patient is suffering from allergic rhinitis after just a conversation with them, but they will typically order allergy testing to determine which allergens are triggering the nasal symptoms. Allergy testing involves pricking the skin with small amounts of various allergens and watching to see which ones cause a mild reaction. The test is fairly simple and completed in the office. After talking to a patient and seeing the allergy test results, allergists are typically able to determine whether a patient is suffering from allergic rhinitis and what allergens are triggering the symptoms.

How is allergic rhinitis treated?
Depending on the severity of a patient’s allergic rhinitis, it may be treated with medications that lessen the symptoms or with allergy shots. Allergy shots expose a patient to minute amounts of allergens so that the sufferer’s body becomes more accustomed to the allergens and reacts less. Typically, shots are given about once a week to start with, and then the frequency is reduced as the treatment progresses. In some cases, both methods of treatment are used.

What should patients with allergic rhinitis look for in a doctor?
Patients who have symptoms that are consistent with allergic rhinitis should seek out an allergist who has treated other patients in the area. A local allergist will be familiar with both the medical condition and the allergens in the area, making them uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat the condition.


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