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)

Its incidence rises considerably over time and doubles every 10 years.
Today, it is considered a public health priority(1).

How does it manifest?

Mécanisme de la rhinite allergique
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.

There are two types of allergic rhinitis(2) :

  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is triggered by an excessive reaction to particular pollen. It occurs every year during the same season according to the pollen calendar, especially during the months of April and June. It is generally more frequent in adolescence and then reoccurs every year at the time when the pollen responsible for the allergy is at its highest level in the air.
  • Chronic or perennial rhinitis, is less frequent, but occurs throughout the year. It is often triggered by domestic allergens, such as dust mites, dust, animals, chemical substances…
  • Allergens are numerous. There are just as many reactions and allergic rhinitis as there are allergic persons.

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.

For your comfort :
A few simple changes to your lifestyle can help to greatly improve your daily life:

  • Once you have identified the allergen responsible of your symptoms, try to remove it from your life, or to avoid coming into contact with it wherever possible.
  • Regular cleansing of the nose will assist you more by easily eliminating allergens responsible for the symptoms by limiting  allergens from coming into contact with the nasal mucosa.

(1) Braun JJ et al. Recommendations for the diagnosis and looking after of allergic rhinitis (epidemiology and physiopathology excluded) –
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.