Having allergic rhinitis is another way to say allergens are affecting you. Allergens generally affect you through the nose. Around 20% of the US population suffers from some form of allergies. If you have allergies, different symptoms can occur due to your body’s reaction to different exposures.
Approximately 30% of people with allergies have asthma. Both allergies and asthma have a genetic link. If one parent has allergies, there is a 37% chance that children from that parent will also develop allergies. If both parents have allergies, there is a 72% that their children will develop those allergies. Allergies can appear at almost any age and it generally it takes three exposures (called sensitization) for allergies to manifest themselves.
An allergist is an expert who deals with allergies and the complications they cause. Allergists can help determine if a patient’s symptoms are allergies or simply a cold or other virus.
There are many types of allergies, but seasonal allergies are the most common type. Exposure to pollen most often causes intense itching, sneezing, watery eyes, etc. Allergies begin when plants release pollen, which is produced to spread its genetic material.
Pollen from flowers is spread by insects that carry it from flower to flower, containing it to a certain extent. However, trees, grasses, and weeds launch the pollen in the air causing it to fly, in some cases, for miles.
Currently, there is a high level of interest in allergies that leads to pollen counts and warnings of pollen levels on the news.
Perennial (or year-round) allergies may be less intense than pollen-based or seasonal allergies. These are most often seen indoors and include dust mites, cockroaches, molds and pets. Pets and molds can cause a quicker and more obvious response with itching, sneezing, and nasal congestion. But dust mites and cockroaches cause more of a general feeling of nasal fullness, congestion and eye irritation. Asthma can also be triggered by the dust mite and cockroach allergen, which is not always as obvious as a cat or dog allergy.
Allergy Terms to Know:
- Allergens – Cause allergy symptoms
- Antigen – Another name for an allergen
- Non-Allergic Rhinitis – Causes nasal drainage, but allergies are the not cause
- Vasomotor Rhinitis – Another name for Non-Allergic Rhinitis
- Mixed Rhinitis Disease – A person with this suffers from both Allergies and Non-Allergic Rhinitis
- Pollen – A plant powder produced to spread its genetic material
- Pollinate – To release pollen
- Environmental Allergens – Things in the environment that can cause an allergic reaction
- Seasonal allergens – Those items that can cause symptoms only during a particular time of year: spring, summer, fall or winter
- Perennial Allergens – Cause symptoms year-round
- Ragweed – A strong allergen that causes symptoms during the fall
- Molds – Can cause allergic symptoms year round, but with spikes in the spring and fall
- Irritants – Odors, fumes, weather changes, or tobacco can cause congestion or drainage
This page has been primarily about allergen-based allergies. For information on other allergies, please click a link below:
Learn More About Allergies from Dr Kanarek: