What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 30, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis? Is it curable?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

As a chronic allergy sufferer, this is a subject near and dear to my heart! Allergic rhinitis is commonly known as nasal allergies, which affects people of all ages. It is estimated that 20% of the adult population in the US has suffered from this problem at some time or another. The common symptoms include runny nose (with clear nasal discharge), itchy/watery eyes, and sneezing. Some people will develop dark circles under their eyes (called allergic shiners), as well as eye puffiness. Your ears can also get itchy inside the ear canals.

Unfortunately, there is no cure, except to avoid whatever is giving you the allergy. In other words, if you are allergic to cats, you can avoid them completely and you will not have any problems until you get near one. However, if you are allergic to something in the air, like tree pollen, and if that tree is budding in the spring, the allergen will be all over your environment (and car- that green dust you see, get into your nose, and cause you to have the symptoms I have described above.

But, there are good medications out there to help with controlling these symptoms, as many allergy sufferers will tell you how annoying the symptoms can be if left untreated. There are numerous nasal and oral medications that are available by perscription, as well as over the counter medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Benedryl. For the nasal stuffiness, Mucinex or Sudafed (both decongestants) can help. Eye drops are also available to help reduce itching of the eyes.

Some home remedies work well too. My personal favorite is nasal saline, which can be squirted up your nose as much as 6 times a day. You can find this at any drug store and it is cheap. This works well, as it helps to rinse out the allergens from your nose, and the salt in the solution keeps your nose from running so much. I have also heard good things about the Neti Pot, which also is used to rinse the nasal passages clean. You can find plenty of information about allergic rhinitis on the internet, if you should want more information. Good luck!