Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever
Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis causes symptoms that are similar to a cold, such as a runny nose, congestion, sinus pressure, sneezing and itchy eyes.
The condition occurs due to an allergic response to outdoor and indoor allergens, such as pollen, dust mites or pet dander. Hay fever commonly develops during childhood and early adulthood, and can have a severe impact on your quality of life. Fortunately, it can be successfully treated and managed with expert care by our specialists at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles.
The symptoms associated with hay fever are unmistakable, and usually begin immediately after exposure to an irritant. The most common symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Itchy nose
- Sore throat
- Sinus pressure
- Facial pain
What causes allergic rhinitis?
Allergies develop during a process called sensitization, when your immune system mistakenly determines that a harmless airborne substance is dangerous and responds by producing antibodies. Thus, the next time you come into contact with this substance, the antibodies signal your immune system to release special chemicals into your bloodstream. These chemicals then cause a response that leads to irritating signs and symptoms, such as a runny nose and itchy eyes.
Types of allergic rhinitis
There are two distinct types of allergic rhinitis – seasonal and year-round – and they each have their own unique triggers.
Seasonal allergies are triggered by:
- Tree pollen in the spring
- Grass pollen in the late spring and summer
- Ragweed pollen in the fall
- Spores from fungi and molds during warm-weather months
Year-round allergies are triggered by:
- Dust mites or cockroaches
- Dander from pets, such as dogs, cats or birds
- Spores from indoor and outdoor fungi and molds
How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?
If you suspect you or your child suffers from allergic rhinitis, it’s important to make an appointment with our specialists at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles for a definitive diagnosis. During the appointment, we will first collect information about your medical history and symptoms, before performing a full physical examination. Depending on our findings, we may order very specific tests to confirm a diagnosis, including:
Skin prick test
During this test, we will introduce a very small amount of a specific allergen into the skin. This will elicit a small hive at the site of the test if you are in fact allergic. This test is extremely accurate, and can be performed on both young children and adults.
Allergy blood test
During this test, we will determine how your immune system responds to a specific allergen by measuring the amount of antibodies in your bloodstream.
What happens if allergies are not treated?
It’s important to treat allergies quickly for both children as adults, as untreated allergies can lead to a number of complications, including:
Reduced quality of life
Because hay fever symptoms can be severe, they can interfere with your ability to enjoy your daily activities. In addition, untreated allergies can lead to decreased productivity as well as absences from work and school.
The symptoms associated with hay fever can lead to difficulty sleeping. They may keep you awake and make it hard to stay asleep.
If you or your child suffers from asthma, allergies can make the symptoms worse by exacerbating coughing and wheezing.
Ongoing sinus congestion due to allergies puts you at risk for developing sinusitis, which can cause headaches, congestion and sinus inflammation.
How are allergies treated?
For patients seeking among the best allergic rhinitis treatment Los Angeles & Orange County have to offer, our specialists focus on controlling your allergies long-term and getting your symptoms under control. This is usually a multi-step process that involves both lifestyle changes and medication.
Because hay fever is triggered by known irritants, one of the best ways to treat your allergies is to avoid your triggers. There are a number of ways to avoid exposure to pollen, molds, dust mites, cockroaches and pet dander, and our specialists at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles will work with you closely to create a plan that works for your lifestyle. When it’s not possible to avoid the substances and irritants that trigger your allergies completely, we can also recommend prescription medications to provide immense symptom relief and restore your quality of life.
If you or your child suffers from allergic rhinitis or hay fever, please know that relief is possible with expert care from our Los Angeles allergy doctors at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment, and let us help you control your symptoms, prevent future attacks and get your allergies under control.Contact Us