Nasal Allergy

Nasal allergy, also known as allergic rhinitis or "hay fever" is a common sensitivity to certain plant pollens, molds, dust, animal dander and other tiny protein particles suspended in our air. The symptoms are mostly irritation in the eyes, nose and throat leading to itchy, tearing eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion. Sometimes there is a dry cough.

The tendency toward these types of allergic reactions will frequently vary throughout a person's lifetime, and is influenced by the duration and quantity of exposure to the offending "allergen." There usually is a family history of similar allergies.

Treatment is directed at reducing exposure to the allergen, taking antihistamine medications and in some circumstances allergy testing and desensitization shots.

Home Care for Nasal Allergy

  • Avoid exposure to the source allergen. (Sometimes this is not easily done, as with dust mite sensitivity.) For plant pollen exposure, it may help to keep your windows closed and use a HEPA air filter device, especially in the bedroom. Avoid smoking and exposure to dusty air.

  • Oral OTC antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (Chlortrimeton) are the standard medical treatment for allergies and they are effective.

  • The limitation of these medications is that they require frequent dosing and they can cause drowsiness. Newer antihistamines are just as effective and have fewer side effects. Most are still prescription medications, but may soon be over-the-counter (OTC) as well.

  • Sometimes it helps to use inhaled medications or nasal sprays. Your provider will explain their use and advantages if prescribed. Do not overuse these sprays.

  • If the allergy exposure is brief but rather intense, a short course of oral cortisone-like medication may be prescribed. (Sometimes this can be given as an injection.) It is effective but repeated use is not recommended.

  • If your problem persists or remains bothersome, contact your personal physician for a follow-up evaluation. There may be an indication for allergy testing. or additional medications.


Call or Return If Any of the Following Occur:

  • You develop a fever. Simple allergies do not cause this.

  • Headache, vision problems or facial swelling

  • You have a problem with any medication.

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