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By centralilli55968110, May 24 2018 04:15PM

More than 3,000,000 people in the United States suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal itching, and runny nose, as well as red, watery and itchy eyes. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is usually self-diagnosable, as it often occurs only certain times of the year. The diagnosis involves history taking, examination of the nasal passages and sometimes skin testing. Lab tests or imaging is rarely required. Seasonal allergic rhinitis can be chronic, lasting for years or could even be lifelong.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis can affect children as young as 3 years old and can occur in any older age group. Besides the sneezing, nasal itching, runny nose and red, watery and itchy eyes that typically occur, patients can experience nasal congestion, loss of smell, post nasal drip, or throat irritation. Puffy eyes are not uncommon as is respiratory symptoms, including wheezing. Symptoms can induce fatigue, as well as nocturnal awakening

In Central Illinois, the most intense seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms occur due to ragweed pollen, which typically peaks from mid-July to mid-August. Tree pollens can also induce seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms, particularly during April and May, and also for a short time in September of each year. Seasonal allergic rhinitis from grass pollens typically occurs from May until late summer. Molds can reproduce by producing a structure called spores. These spores typically peak in number in April to June, and especially become abundant from September to November of each year. Mold spores typically induce the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis with less eye symptoms than the pollens.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis is typically treated with self-care with antihistamine or nasal steroid medications. Sufferers often stay away from pollens that cause allergic reactions by wearing respiratory masks while outside or even staying indoors. Rinsing the inside of the nose with warm salt water has been shown to be helpful for seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms. Typically, these allergic rhinitis sufferers take antihistamines to reduce or stop the allergic reactions that occur with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Such antihistamines include Loratadine, Cetirizine and Fexofenadine. Nasal steroids are more effect in treating seasonal allergic rhinitis, as they modify or stimulate hormonal effects that reduce the inflammation that is associated with this disease. Over the counter nasal steroids include Fluticasone (Flonase) and Triamcinolone Acetonide (Nasacort). More effective nasal steroids are available by prescription. The eye symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis can be treated by eye decongestants such as Naphazoline (Clear Eyes). More effective eye medications are available by prescriptions.

The triggers of seasonal allergic rhinitis can be identified with skin testing or laboratory testing. Desensitization to these triggers can be done either orally or by allergy shots. Desensitization involves reducing the allergic reaction to these triggers. Increasing amount of the trigger is introduced to a seasonal allergic rhinitis sufferer, so that eventually no allergic reaction occurs to this trigger.

David N. Wright, MD

Board Certified in Allergy & Immunology

Call our office today to make an appointment to discuss your seasonal allergy symptoms, 217/522-5596.

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