Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, causes the emergence of cold-like symptoms and signs. The condition is typically associated with symptoms including sinus pressure, runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes. But unlike the case with common colds, allergic rhinitis does not occur due to a virus.
Instead, the condition occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to an environmental factor, such as pet dander or saliva, pollen, or dust mites. Apart from making your life miserable, allergic rhinitis can also affect your school and work life. However, the good news is that you do not have to put up with it. It’s a condition that is easily manageable when you know the triggers and normal course of action.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the symptoms associated with this condition include:
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Allergic shiners
- Coughing and sneezing
Seasonal Factors that May Cause Allergic Rhinitis
The symptoms and signs described above may manifest themselves at specific times of the year. As the seasons change, some triggers are likely to start appearing – these are the triggers you should learn to avoid. They include:
- Spores coming from indoor/outdoor molds or fungi. The two are deemed perennial and seasonal
- Tree pollen – Very common during the start of the spring season
- Dust mites and pet dander are perennial factors. It is normal for this to worsen during the cold winter months.
- Grass pollen – Common in summer and late spring
- Ragweed pollen
Do You Have a Common Cold or Allergic Rhinitis?
Given that many people confuse the symptoms associated with the two, it’s always best to know what to look out for. It is the only way to tell what is really affecting you. The table included below can help with that:
|•Runny nose accompanied by a thin water-like discharge.
• No fever symptoms
|• Occurs as soon as you are exposed to the allergens known to cause it
|• Only lasts for as long as you remain exposed to these allergens
|Common Cold or Flu
|• Runny nose that is accompanied by a thick watery discharge. The discharge may also appear yellow-like.
• Your body is achy in some areas.
• Presence of a low-grade fever
|• Occurs one to three days after you become exposed to the virus known to cause the common cold
|• Lasts between three and seven days
Should You See a Doctor?
The question of whether or not to consult with a medical professional will depend on a few factors. But it is highly recommended that you visit a doctor if:
- You have a pre-existing condition that may worsen if you also suffer from allergic rhinitis, e.g., frequent sinus infections, asthma, or nasal polyps.
- You do not get any relief from the symptoms even after taking allergy medications.
- It has become impossible for you to get any relief from the symptoms.
It is common for many people to become used to the symptoms associated with this condition. For this reason, many choose not to seek any treatment until their symptoms have worsened.
Also Read: Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to substances
When you have this type of fever, there is always a possibility that you may experience some of the problems associated with it. Common issues you might encounter include:
- Ear Infections – This problem mainly affects small children. Allergic rhinitis often affects their middle ear or otitis media.
- Reduced Quality of Life – Severe hayfever might make it harder for you to enjoy your day-to-day activities. It could become harder for you to complete certain activities, and for many, it causes them to miss school or work.
- Worsening Asthma – Allergic rhinitis can worsen your asthma symptoms. You may find yourself sneezing and coughing more than normal.
- Poor Sleep – The symptoms of hayfever can easily keep you awake for the better part of the night. With time, this can lead to fatigue and general body weakness.
You can’t avoid getting allergic rhinitis – the best you can do is try to avoid any triggers of the condition by reducing your overall exposure to allergens.