Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa following contact with an allergen. This is a common illness affecting as many as 1 in 2 persons, depending on age, region and season and can seriously interfere with quality of life… It mainly affects adolescents and young adults.(1)
How does it manifest?
The allergy is caused by an abnormal and excessive reaction by the body to a substance which it deems to be harmful: allergens (pollen, dust mites, animals, dust etc.). When allergens come into contact with the eyes, nose or mouth of the allergic individual, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response. This causes the release of substances which are responsible for inflammation, including histamine, a substance which lies behind the symptoms of allergic rhinitis(2).
In non-allergic individuals, allergens are not identified as harmful and do not provoke a response.
What are the main symptoms?
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are(2):
- Sneezing occurring very soon after contact with the allergen.
- Clear nasal discharge, usually abundant.
- Obstruction and nasal congestion.
- An itchy nose.
- Eye and throat irritation.
If you experience these symptoms for the first time, it is advisable to consult a doctor or allergist.
What are the consequences?
According to sufferers, allergic rhinitis can be slight or severe and can therefore have varying effects and consequences on day to day life (3). Its range of different symptoms can disturb sleep and can be responsible for significant fatigue during the day. This can impact an individual’s social life (going-out, exercising…) and even his ability to concentrate at work or in school.
Text long. Rev Mal Respir 2010;27:S79-105.
(2) Bien vous soigner avec des médicaments disponibles sans ordonnance (Using non-prescription medicines correctly).
La rhinite et conjonctivite allergiques de l’adulte Juin 2008 (Allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis in adults, June 2008).
(3) Moniteur des pharmacies. Training No. 183 – Allergic rhinitis, book 2 of no. 2983 of 11 May 2013.