Allergic rhinitis is commonly known as hay fever. Although it sounds quite benign, don’t be mistaken, it can make life unpleasant especially when it takes it’s more chronic form.
In allergy terms, it is an IgE-mediated inflammatory disorder of the nasal passages caused by the overreaction of the body’s immune system to inhaled allergens.
Airborne allergens such as pollens, animal dander, mould and mites, interact with specific IgE antibodies on the surface of mast cells within the nose. The IgE-allergen interaction triggers the mast cells to release histamine, which cause inflammation and swelling of the nasal mucosa.
Put simply, every time you come into contact with an allergen you develop symptoms. Common immediate symptoms include sneezing, increased mucous production (i.e. a runny nose), nasal itchiness, a post-nasal drip and itchy, red, watery eyes. These are very recognizable as allergic.
Over time, however, the symptoms can become less immediately obvious and often overlooked. More chronic allergic symptoms can present with:
snoring or mouth breathing
recurrent ear infections
blocked nose and mouth breathing due to chronic inflammation of the nasal passages (ASCIA, 2015).
If you have allergic rhinitis you will hear the following classification terms. It tends to be classified as intermittent or persistent, mild, moderate or severe. Intermittent allergic rhinitis is when an individual experiences symptoms for four or less days per week, and/or for less than four consecutive weeks at a time. Persistent allergic rhinitis is when symptoms occur more than 4 days per week, for more than 4 consecutive weeks (Cauwenberge, 2005).
Also taken into consideration when determining the severity of allergic rhinitis is the impact an individual’s symptoms have on their quality of life. That is, the degree (mild, moderate or severe) to which an individual’s allergic rhinitis affects their ability to sleep and go to work or to school.
While immediate symptoms of hayfever are recognizable, chronic symptoms are more difficult to recognize.
Allergy Skin Prick testing for allergic rhinitis and asthma is bulk billed at collective.care Allergy by our Bella Vista Doctors.
Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy [ASCIA]. 2015. Is it Allergic Rhinitis (hayfever)? Information for patients, consumers and carers. Accessed July 31, 2015, http://www.allergy.org.au/images/pcc/ASCIA_PCC_Is_it_allergic_rhinitis_2015.pdf
Cauwenberge, P. 2005. ARIA: impact of compliance. Clinical and Experimental Allergy Reviews 5, 1, 3-6.
If you have an allergy concern, contact collective.care Allergy Clinic on 1300 344 325 or click here.