Allergic rhinitis is irritation and swelling in the nose. It is caused by an overreaction of the immune system. An allergen, something that should be harmless, is inhaled through the nose. The allergen trigger mast cells to release histamine. This leads to swelling of blood vessels and tissue that lines the nose and sinuses. This starts a chain of events that cause:
- Runny or itchy nose
- Watery, itchy, or red eyes
The most common allergens come from grasses, trees, weeds, or animals.
There are 2 types:
- Seasonal—Happens mainly in the spring, summer, or early fall. Causes are from grasses, trees, weeds, or mold spores in the air.
- Perennial—Happens year-round. Common causes are dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, or mold spores. Food allergies may also cause this type.
Allergies are mild but annoying in most. It can cause or worsen:
- Ear infections
- Sinus pain or infection
- Sore throats
- Feeling tired
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Pink eye
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 09/2019 -
- Update Date: 02/14/2020 -