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Treatment of allergic rhinitis

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In the first article for our series in Independent Nurse, we discussed the presentation of allergic rhinitis, differential diagnoses, and how to make a good diagnosis.1 This second article will concentrate on therapeutic options in allergic rhinitis, and the third and final article in the series will look at the management of asthma and allergic rhinitis.

The definition of allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory disorder of the nose that occurs when the membranes lining the nose become sensitised to allergens.2 We know that allergic rhinitis is associated with the development of allergic conjunctivitis and asthma, and it has an substantial impact on sufferers, either on its own or with its associated developments.1-5

We also know that for many people allergic rhinitis may be a relatively mild and transient event, often lasting between five and 15 days. In transient allergic rhinitis, simple steps such as avoiding the particular allergen if known, taking over-the-counter remedies (e.g. antihistamines and decongestants), and, for some people, rinsing or douching the nasal passages with saline solution may help.

If the symptoms are severe, persist for over two weeks and affect everyday functioning, then it is advised that medical help is sought. It is therefore important that we do not dismiss symptoms in those who are seeking our help.


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