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Allergic rhinitis: assessing the triggers and treatments

As hay fever season approaches again, Hetal Dhruve explains its causes and most effective treatments

Allergic rhinitis (AR) remains the most common immunological disease in man and is still subject to under-recognition and poor management.1 AR has a significant impact on quality of life, leading to both performance and attendance issues at school and work.2,3

The nose is the gateway to the respiratory tract, and rhinitis is associated with symptoms in the eyes, sinuses, middle ear, the nasopharynx and lower airways. Both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis are risk factors for the development of asthma.4 Rhinitis impairs asthma control and increases its costs.4 It is important to recognise rhinitis and ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatment.4

Rhinitis refers to inflammation of the nasal mucosal passage and is defined by inflammation leading to a variety of symptoms, including sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, and postnasal drip (the sensation that mucus is draining from the sinuses down the back of the throat). When the conjunctivae are also involved, the term rhino-conjunctivitis is more accurate.4

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