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The management of allergic rhinitis

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Rhinitis is an inflammation of the mucosa of the nasal airways, clinically identified by symptoms of nasal discharge, nasal blockage or congestion, and at times itching/sneezing.

It is a very common condition in patients presenting in primary care, and especially in patients with asthma, with its impact often underestimated.1, 2Rhinitis significantly reduces quality of life3and interferes with school and work attendance and performance4,5,6

The overall cost to the health service is substantial4, therefore it is important sufferers are managed effectively.

The prevalence of allergic rhinitis has been increasing over the last 30 years and is now thought to affect at least 20 per cent of the UK population.7An estimated 75-80 per cent of people with asthma present with allergic rhinitis coexisting symptoms.8,9Around 20 per cent of pregnant women have symptoms of rhinitis, which are linked to their pregnancy.1


Commonly patients will present with sneezing, an itchy nose, and possibly and itchy palate. Most sufferers will also have oedema of the sinus linings, which may present with symptoms of facial pain and congestion over the affected sinuses.1

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