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    What is hayfever?
    Information courtesy of www.rhinitisinfo.com. Great site, pay them a visit.


    Approximately 20% of all cases of allergic rhinitis are seasonal allergic rhinitis.
    This is commonly caused by tree, weed, and grass pollen, and mould spores. Seasonal allergic rhinitis caused by pollen is also known as hay fever.

    Symptoms occur when pollen and spores are airborne, and this is mainly during the summer.

    Some people may find that these symptoms persist after the pollen season in response to irritants such as tobacco smoke, bad smells, changes in temperature, and exercise.

    Symptoms of
    If you have allergic rhinitis, you may have some of the following symptoms:
    • a runny nose
    • an itchy nose
    • sneezing
    • a blocked nose
    • watery, itchy eyes

    These are caused when you breathe in foreign bodies (allergens).

    There are different types of allergic rhinitis. These have slightly different symptoms and are caused by different allergens.

    Your doctor can help you identify whether you have allergic rhinitis. He or she will ask you about your symptoms and may also examine your nose, eyes, and ears. This will find out how severe your disease is and whether you have any other diseases instead of, or as well as, allergic rhinitis.

    To find out what causes your allergic rhinitis, your doctor will probably ask you questions about when you get symptoms, and what foreign bodies you might be exposed to. To find out exactly what you are allergic to, your doctor may give you a skin prick test.

    If your symptoms are very bad, your doctor may ask you see an allergy specialist.


    Parents should be aware of signs of allergic rhinitis in their children, such as sneezing, or frequent wiping of the nose with the hand, as children do not always complain such problems. Children who have symptoms for a long time may even assume that this is normal. A blocked nose is likely to occur at night and may result in snoring.

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    Risk Indicator

    Hayfever is not a life threatening condition. Moderate to severe symptoms can however be debilitating and lead to learning disabilities in children.

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    Allergic rhinitis is a reaction to small particles in the atmosphere such as pollen.

    When these particles come into contact with the lining of the nose of a susceptible person, they trigger an immune response in the nose lining, and this causes the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

    This process is known as an allergic reaction, and the particles that cause it are termed allergens. It happens when the immune system, which is designed to stop invasion by foreign bodies such as bacteria, mounts an inappropriately strong response to harmless substances. This over-reaction by the immune system is what distinguishes individuals with allergy from healthy persons.

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    What helps?
    Please see the Rhinitis page for additional info


    In some cases, a combination of different drugs may be useful in treating allergic rhinitis. Your doctor can advise you on whether you may benefit from this.

    Antihistamines and decongestants

    Antihistamines are good at treating sneezing, an itchy nose, and a runny nose, but they are less good at treating a blocked nose. They may therefore be used at the same time as oral decongestants, which are effective at relieving a blocked nose.

    Combinations of antihistamines and decongestants can counteract all the symptoms of allergic rhinitis on a short-term basis.

    Topical corticosteroids and antihistamines

    Topical corticosteroids and antihistamines are both very good at treating a runny nose, sneezing, and an itchy nose, and topical corticosteroids are also good at treating a blocked nose. If you have severe allergic rhinitis, your doctor may advise that you use both topical corticosteroids and antihistamines to control your symptoms.

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    Please see the Rhinitis page for additional info


    There are a number of alternative medicines available for treating allergies.

    • Chinese herbal medicine
    • Homeopathy
    • Herbal remedies
    • Nutritional supplements
    • Food avoidance
    • Saline nasal washes
    • Acupuncture

    These are often used by people who do not want to use drugs (eg antihistamines, corticosteroids, or decongestants). However, there is no good evidence that alternative medicine improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

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    Please see the Rhinitis page

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