Allergic Rhinitis and Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic rhinitis is inflammation of the nasal cavity caused by allergens, such as pollen and animal dander. Allergic conjunctivitis is characterized by both eyes being very itchy, red, and discharging a clear, tear-like liquid.

Allergic Rhinitis

If it occurs throughout the year, it is known as perennial rhinitis. If it occurs at the same time of year, each year, then it is known as seasonal rhinitis, sometimes called hay fever.

Itchy nose, sneezing, clear nasal discharge and a stuffy, blocked nose are all symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It is also generally accompanied by an itchy palate (i.e. back of the mouth), itchy ear canals, and eyes. Other common characteristic symptoms include tiredness, headaches, discharge at the back of the throat, difficulty in concentrating, feeling sleepy, and a loss of smell.

In children, allergic rhinitis can present more as coughs and colds, which can delay diagnosis and lead to incorrect treatment being prescribed.

Allergic rhinitis and asthma are closely linked. The nose cavity and the bronchi are covered by the same type of cells, therefore the same inflammatory response occurs when exposed to allergens. Approximately, 1 in 3 people suffering from allergic rhinitis will develop asthma, and 80% of asthmatic people suffer from allergic rhinitis. Asthma and rhinitis can appear at the same time, but rhinitis appears generally on its own, several years before asthma.

Allergens concerned are mostly dust mites and animals, and symptoms are often worsened in dusty and humid places.

Classification of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis can be classified by its impact on asthma, and defines the rhinitis according to its duration and its severity. Persistent rhinitis lasts roughly for four days, four times in the year. Intermittent rhinitis lasts less than four days and occurs less than 4 times per year.

This classification enables a better assessment of the intensity and duration of the symptoms. Moderate to severe rhinitis refers to a case in which symptoms are severe enough to cause discomfort in daily professional or school activities as well as be sleep disturbing. Mild rhinitis refers to cases with negligible symptoms and little effect on sleep and daily life. The diagnosis and treatment of persistent rhinitis is essential to improve people's daily lives and to avoid the possibility of developing asthma.

Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis often presents itself alongside allergic rhinitis, especially in the presence of pollen, animals, house dust mites, and latex. Certain foods can also cause allergic conjunctivitis.

An ophthalmic assessment is, sometimes, essential to assess the severity of the symptoms and, if necessary, prescribe steroid eye drops. Steroid drops can be harmful to the eyes in any undiagnosed corneal problems and can cause a rise in pressure, so ophthalmic monitoring will be necessary.

It is recommended that you wear sunglasses and avoid rubbing your eyes, so as not to aggravate the condition.

Ivan Mikhaylov -
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