Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis

If you have allergies, your body is overreacting to substances occurring naturally in the environment such as tree, weed and grass pollens, molds, dust mites or animal dander. The allergic reaction commonly involves you nose (allergic rhinitis), eyes (allergic conjunctivitis), and/or lungs (asthma).

Everyone breathes in pollens, dust mites and molds. These substances are absorbed into the lining of the nose/airways. Most people don’t react to them and never know they are there. If you have allergic rhinitis, your immune system is recognizing these allergens and reacting against them. The immune response involves the release of chemical mediators (i.e. histamine), which cause inflammation or swelling within the nose, increased mucous production, itching and sneezing.

Allergic rhinitis causes many people to feel tired and may also impair concentration. Studies have shown that school and work performance may be affected by allergic rhinitis.

Common complications of allergic rhinitis:

  • Sinus pressure or sinusitis – The openings to the sinus cavities are located along the nasal lining. With allergies, the lining becomes swollen which may close off the sinus openings. This may lead to increased pressure within the sinuses and increased rate of sinus infections.
  • Ear pressure or ear infection – The Eustachian tube is the tube connecting the ear to the back of the nasal cavity. With allergies, the same inflammation that is present in the nasal lining may occur within the Eustachian tube. This may lead to a pressure sensation within the ears or even ear infections.