Rhinitis is when the inside of the nose becomes inflamed and swollen, causing cold-like symptoms including runny and stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, and sinus pressure. There are two kinds of rhinitis, allergic and non-allergic. Just like it sounds, allergic rhinitis is called by an allergy while non-allergic is caused by something else.

Allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever.

Despite its name, hay fever doesn’t mean you’re allergic to hay, nor does it mean symptoms include a fever. Hay fever is the result of two conditions, a genetic predisposition to allergy and exposure to that allergen.

Symptoms may vary with the season depending upon what is blooming and can be triggered by pollen, trees, grasses, and fungi. Some estimate as many as 20% of North Americans experience some form of hay fever. While symptoms can start affecting people at any age, allergic rhinitis typically develops in childhood.

For many people, symptoms of hay fever are mild and can be alleviated to a manageable level with over-the-counter medications. For others, symptoms greatly disrupt everyday life and can include headache, unusual sweating, loss of smell or taste, itchiness in the throat, nose and eyes. People who have asthma may have especially bad hay fever symptoms. In cases like these, it’s best to see your Ear Nose and Throat professional, like those at Orlando ENT Associates.

If hay fever is suspected, your ENT technician will likely perform a skin test, where a small amount of the allergen is placed under the skin and the reaction is measured. A blood test may also be performed.

There are several treatments for allergic rhinitis, including inhaled or oral antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal and oral corticosteroids. Your Orlando ENT professional would be happy to discuss relevant treatments to help you be more comfortable through your hay fever  symptoms.

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