Allergic Rhinitis

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

The Yale Sinus and Allergy Program treats patients with difficult-to-manage allergic rhinitis. Even if you have been unable to find relief from past medical therapies, we can help. Allergic rhinitis is an allergy that is triggered by breathing in an allergen (something that triggers an allergy) such as dust, dander, or pollen.

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include: 
  • Itchy nose, mouth, eyes, throat, skin, or any area 
  • Decreased sense of smell 
  • Runny nose 
  • Sneezing 
  • Watery eyes 
If you have continued exposure to the allergen, other symptoms may also develop, including:  
  • Stuffy nose 
  • Coughing 
  • Clogged ears 
  • Sore throat 
  • Puffy eyes or dark circles under the eyes 
  • Fatigue or irritability 
  • Headaches 
This list should be used as a guideline. Not every symptom is included. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it does not mean that you have allergic rhinitis. Please contact your doctor if your symptoms persist.  


Causes of Allergic Rhinitis

When a patient with allergic rhinitis breathes in an allergen, such as pollen, his or her body releases chemicals called histamines. Histamines, in part, help white blood cells fight infection, but they can sometimes create symptoms such as itchiness, swelling, and mucous production.

Risk Factors of Allergic Rhinitis

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Some disorders, such as eczema and asthma, seem to be associated with a higher risk of getting allergic rhinitis. Your genes also play a role. You are more likely to develop allergies if parents, especially your mother, or other family members have allergies.

Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get allergic rhinitis; not having risk factors does not mean that you will not get allergic rhinitis.

Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis

Our surgeons at the Yale Sinus and Allergy Program are on the leading edge of research and treatment for a wide range of sinus and allergy conditions and disorders. We specialize in helping patients with difficult and challenging conditions and those who have been unable to find relief from previous approaches in medical and surgical treatments. We understand how frustrating the symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be. Often, allergic rhinitis affects daily life, such as working and spending time with your loved ones. We are here to help. 

The best way to treat allergic rhinitis is to avoid the allergen, if possible. Once your allergies have been triggered, different medications may help alleviate symptoms, such as nasal saline irrigations, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and decongestants. Immunotherapy, where you are exposed to small quantities of the allergen through injections or drops, can help build up tolerance to the allergen over a period of time. In the long term, this well help decrease symptoms.