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Here Are Two Types of Allergic Rhinitis

There Are Over 200 Allergens Out There!

If you are blowing your nose, sneezing a lot, and your eyes or nose often feel itchy, it could be allergic rhinitis, a condition that affects up to 1 in 5 Australians1.

Your Immune System in Overdrive

Allergic rhinitis (AR)—inflammation of the nasal membranes—develops when your immune system overreacts to an airborne substance like pollen or dust that for most people typically causes no problem.

When the immune system overreacts, an allergic response is activated. From there, the body attempts to attack and remove the invading substance.

Researchers still aren’t sure what causes the immune system to go into fight mode over these otherwise harmless allergens.

Two Main Kinds of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis can be defined by the timing of the allergen exposure including:

  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis triggered by the ramping up of airborne allergens including mould spores and/or tree, grass and weed pollens, depending on the time of the year.
    • Seasonal AR is also commonly called hayfever, but don’t be misled by the name—you don’t have to be exposed to hay to have symptoms. And, despite the name, it’s never accompanied by a fever.
    • Pollination times vary with location and the plant species across Australia. Trees usually pollinate late winter and early spring whilst grasses and weeds flower from August through to May. There are however many tree species that produce allergenic pollen all year!
  • Perennial allergic rhinitis is an allergic response that can happen all year round.

Perennial AR triggers include a variety of substances, many of which are found indoors, like dust mites, moulds, and pet dander.

Allergic Rhinitis can also be classified as either intermittent or persistent, with further classification by symptom severity.2

A Double Whammy

Some people may experience both types of rhinitis, with perennial symptoms getting worse during specific outdoor allergen seasons.

Did I Really Empty the Entire Box of Tissues?

In addition to the dreaded congestion and sniffling, you can also experience “allergic salutes,” wiping an itchy nose with the back of the hand in a repeated upward movement; and “allergic shiners,” the dark circles and swelling under itchy, watery eyes.

The first line of defence in managing AR is to try to avoid exposure to the allergens that trigger symptoms.

So…

If You Have Seasonal AR

  • Hot, dry, windy days are more likely to have a lot of pollen in the air. The Australian Pollen Forecast website can help you track pollen counts.
  • Sunglasses and hats can minimize pollen and other allergens from landing on eyes and hair.
  • Wear a dust mask to help filter out pollen and mould spores.

If You Have Perennial AR

  • Keep windows closed and use A/C at home and in your car.
  • Use dust mite–proof covers for bedding and mattresses. Wash bedding frequently using hot water (at least 60° C).
  • To control mould, reduce humidity to less than 50% with a dehumidifier.
  • Vacuum the house with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter so you don’t chance stirring up pollen rather than removing it.

Yay…Maybe the Cat Can Stay

When combined with other cleaning measures, bathing the cat once weekly may effectively reduce airborne cat allergen levels in the home. P.S.: Good luck bathing the cat.

Still having a tough time getting your AR under control? Keep your Claratyne handy. If you feel your symptoms acting up, you will be ready.

Reference:
  1. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Information for patients, consumers and carers: Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever). 2019.
  2. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Allergic Rhinitis Clinical Update. 2017.

Keep reading: Prep for Spring Allergies in One Clean Sweep!