Allergic rhinitis/hay fever

Allergic Rhinitis (also called Hay Fever) occurs when a patient's nose comes in contact with something they are allergic to. This causes the nose to try and get rid of it, resulting in sneezing, running nose and itch. If severe, with inflammation in the nose, it can lead to blockage. Some people have all of the symptoms while others have only a few.

People with Allergic Rhinitis are commonly allergic to house dust mite, grass and tree pollens, animals and moulds. Not everyone is allergic to all of these and skin testing can help to determine which allergens you are allergic to and help you to avoid them in the future.

Most people with Hay Fever put up with it thinking it is not severe, but it can often cause tiredness and impacts on study, work and sport. Because it is often there all year, sufferers forget what it is like to be normal. In fact, Olympic athletes noted that they performed even better when they treated their allergic rhinitis (something they would not usually do).

The right medication can make a dramatic difference for people with allergic rhinitis. If you do not want to continue taking medications, or the medications are not working as well as you would wish, you should consider undergoing desensitisation. This is the only treatment that can go close to curing allergies.

Some people have symptoms much like allergic rhinitis but they are not caused by typical allergies. These patients may have Vasomotor Rhinitis, Non-Allergic Rhinitis, Atrophic Rhinitis or recurrent infections. The only way to differentiate these is to have a medical assessment and appropriate skin tests. Unfortunately, desensitisation does not work for these conditions.