An introduction to allergic rhinitis symptoms
Allergic rhinitis occurs when the immune system overreacts to contact with animal dander (the saliva, urine and dead skin cells of animals), pollen, dust mites and mould spores.
A chemical called histamine is released in an attempt to get rid of these things however, this can contribute to a number of unwanted symptoms in the nose, eyes, throat and skin.
Allergic rhinitis symptoms are variable
For a number of reasons the symptoms of allergic rhinitis vary from person to person.
The severity of symptoms are, for example, influenced by the amount of allergens in the surrounding air. A house with animals will likely cause an extreme flare up in those sensitive to animal dander whilst the spring and summer months can prove problematic for those with a pollen allergy. Plants reproduce at this time and as a result there is a lot of pollen in the air.
- Tree pollen tends to affect people in spring
- Grass pollen affects people in late spring and summer
- Weed pollen can be found at high levels in late summer and autumn
Symptoms can also be influenced by where you live though as towns and cities tend to have higher levels of pollution which can exacerbate symptoms relating to a pollen allergy.
Common symptoms of allergic rhinitis
People suffering from allergic rhinitis can over-react to the presence of pollen, animal dander, mould spores and dust mites. This triggers an inflammatory reaction, as well as the release of histamine.
Histamine is responsible for the main symptoms of allergic rhinitis:
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Other allergic rhinitis symptoms
When allergic rhinitis is severe, other symptoms can develop including:
- Headaches and dizziness – this occurs when inflammation blocks the openings of sinuses, leading to an increase in pressure inside the sinuses
- Loss of smell or taste – when inflammation affects the top of the nasal passages, the nerves giving us our sense of smell become ‘blocked’ and work less efficiently
- Dry cough and throat – this occurs when the respiratory tract becomes inflammed and begins to irritate the throat
In general, the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are not life-threatening but they can negatively affect your day-to-day life.
Allergic rhinitis symptoms affecting the whole body
For the majority of allergic rhinitis sufferers inflammation is confined to the eyes, nose and throat. In more severe cases however, inlammation can affect the whole body leading to symptoms such as:
Those suffering from hayfever may also have more chance of developing:
- Asthma, with symptoms of shortness of breath and wheezing
- Eczema, itching, dryness and scaling of affected skin