What causes allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis is inflammation to the mucosal lining of the nose caused by inappropriate hypersensitivity reaction to an aeroallergen. The allergen triggers an IgE mediated immune respone, with mast cell activation and the release of cytokines.

What are the types of allergic rhinitis?

Seasonal allergies: usually pollen and/or outdoor molds
Perennial: caused by indoor allergies i.e. cockroach, dust mite, pets and certain molds
Occupational: surroundings of your working environment

Who is affected?

  • Affects approximately ⅓ of Americans
  • Worse in regions with high humiditiy
  • Worse in regions with higher plant population

How do my allergies affect me?

Eyes: Watery eyes, itchiness
Nose: septal deviation, polyps, mucus discharge, congestion, sneezing
Ear: middle ear pathology, i.e. otitis externa, serous otitis media, otalgia and/or otorrhea
Neck: swolen lymph nodes, thyroid enlargement
Chest: wheezing, coughing
Skin: eczema, hives, dermatographism

Differential diagnosis

Non-allergic rhinitis: infectious rhinitis, vasomotor rhinitis, atrophic rhinitis, drug induced
rhinitis, hormonally induced rhinitis, exercise induced rhinitis, reflex induced rhinitis
Structural/mechanical rhinitis: septal deviation, turbinate hypertrophy, adenoid hypertrophy,
foreign body, tumor
Inflammatory rhinitis: Wegener’s, sarcoidosis, midline granuloma, SLE, Sjogren’s

Allergy management

Combat environmental allergies by reducing exposure. Installing HEPA filters in your home helps to reduce
airborne dust mite and pet dander concentration. Encasing pillows, mattresses, and box springs in zippered dust mite covers can improve sleep quality. Ventilating bathrooms, basements, and other dark, moist places combats mold growth.

Simply avoiding allergens is not always a viable tactic. At Advanced ENT & Allergy, we offer many services geared towards treating your allergy symptoms, starting with allergy testing.