Allergic rhinitis or hay fever, is a group of symptoms that occur when the body is exposed to a specific allergen. The most common allergens in Indian settings is exposure to allergens in dust mites and fungal molds. Pollen allergens induce more seasonal symptoms rather than perennial or symptoms all year around. Left untreated , patients with allergic rhinitis develop sinus inflammation and asthma.
The most common symptoms of Allergic rhinitis are
- runny nose
- stuffy nose
- itchy nose
- sore throat
- itchy and watery eyes
- dark circles under eyes
- frequent headaches
- sleep disturbance
Allergy skin prick test is one of the most commonly used tests to diagnose allergies. Small amount of allergen is placed on the skin and slightly pricked (like a mosquito bite) and a small red bump appears in the allergen placed site if there is a positive reaction. If people are not comfortable to do skin prick test, blood IgE to the suspected allergen is measured.
This condition is treated with commonly antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays. While medications provide symptomatic relief, the permanent solution to the problem is from immunotherapy or allergy vaccine. Immunotherapy helps to desensitize the person to the offending allergen and build up tolerance.