Allergic and Non-Allergic Rhinitis
Rhinitis means “inflammation of the nose”, and usually consists of congestion, rhinorrhea (runny nose) and related symptoms. Patients commonly experience facial (“sinus”) pressure and/or recurrent “colds” or sinus infections. Chronic or recurrent nasal symptoms affect 20% of the entire US population in one way or another, and result in a significant cost in terms of dollars spent on doctor visits and medications, not to mention a symptomatic burden on affected individuals. Several factors can contribute to this inflammation, including infections (colds), allergies and irritants.
In allergic rhinitis, microscopic particles (allergens) cause a specific immunological reaction that result in nasal congestion, runny nose, nasal itching, sneezing, post-nasal drip and swollen red, itchy and watery eyes. Many times the triggers are obvious, such as with pet exposure or during the spring pollen season, and sometimes they are not. Many times a person can be allergic to multiple triggers, which are most easily identified with the use of skin testing.
Avoidance of one’s triggers is one of the most important means of allergic rhinitis treatment available, and various recommendations may be made depending on your history and the outcome of your allergy testing. Additionally, various medications such as oral antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays can be used to minimize your nasal symptoms, and ophthalmic (eye) drops may be useful for treating your red and itchy eyes.
Immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) can be an extremely effective way to combat allergies, particularly when environmental controls and medications provide inadequate relief, cause intolerable side effects or become too cumbersome or expensive. Allergy vaccines are custom-made for a particular individual based on their specific allergy triggers. Shots are administered in a doctor’s office weekly to start but less frequently over time and offer the best chance for more permanent relief for allergy sufferers.
We can help you determine which treatments are best for you.