Allergic rhinitis is inflammation occurring in the nose that is due to inhalant triggers such as pollen, grass, trees, mold, dust mites, pets and many other possible allergens. Allergy-type symptoms include runny nose, itchy/watery/red eyes, puffiness around the eyes, sneezing, postnasal drainage, nasal congestion, facial pressure/fullness, ear pressure (Eustachian tube dysfunction), and voice/throat problems. Asthma and sinusitis are frequently associated with allergic rhinitis. Throat inflammation from allergic rhinitis is sometimes mistaken for inflammation from upper airway acid reflux, although both may exist simultaneously.
It is important to identify any possible allergic triggers to exercise avoidance, which is the primary recommended therapy, whenever sensible, for allergies. In some cases, such as pet allergies, this is difficult or impossiblle, and other therapies are recommended.
Many of the same medications used for sinusitis are also effective for allergies, but specific medications are also available and effective. Over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, which come in both tablet and spray form, are effective at addressing symptoms. A major advantage of newer generation antihistamines is less drowsiness than older generation agents such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Prescription antihistamine sprays may provide a small degree of decongestant effect which is not typically seen with tablets. Nasal steroid sprays are the most commonly prescribed maintenance medication for allergic rhinitis. Proper daily use of this medication is required for symptomatic control. Singulair is an inhibitor of one part of the inflammatory cascade, the leukotrienes, that may be effective in specific situations.
When standard medications do not completely address allergic symptoms, immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may be appropriate. Eligibility depends on a number of factors, but immunotherapy is considered the only cure for allergic sensitivities and can result in substantial improvements.