Allergic rhinitis ("hay fever") is an inflammation of the nasal passages caused by an allergic reaction to breathing air containing an allergen. In patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis, the allergen is pollen from a blooming plant or mold that grows at a particular time of the year. Patients with perennial allergic rhinitis are sensitive to dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches or mold. Their rhinitis is usually worse during months when they spend the most time indoors, but can occur any time of the year.

How is allergic rhinitis treated?

Allergic rhinitis is usually a lifelong condition. The first step to controlling the symptoms involves identifying the specific allergen and taking steps to avoid or limit contact with it.  If these steps are insufficient to attain relief, medications are the next step. When medications fail to work or produce undesirable side effects, a series of shots to reduce or eliminate sensitivity to the allergen may be considered. Because allergic rhinitis is closely associated with asthma, tests to rule out this condition may be conducted.

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