Hay fever - self-care; Seasonal rhinitis - self-care
Allergic rhinitis is a group of symptoms that affect your nose. They occur when you breathe in something you are allergic to, such as dust mites, animal dander, or pollen.
Allergic rhinitis is called hay fever when it is caused by plant pollen and other outdoor particles.
Things that make allergies worse are called triggers. It may be impossible to completely avoid all triggers. But you can do many things to limit your or your child's exposure to them.
Some changes you may need to make include:
The amount of pollen in the air can affect whether hay fever symptoms develop. More pollen is in the air on hot, dry, windy days. On cool, damp, rainy days, most pollen is washed to the ground.
Antihistamines are medicines that work well for treating allergy symptoms. They are often used when symptoms do not occur very often or do not last very long.
Antihistamine nasal sprays work well for treating allergic rhinitis. They are only available with a prescription.
Decongestants are medicines that help dry up a runny or stuffy nose. They come as pills, liquids, capsules, or nasal sprays. You can buy them over-the-counter (OTC), without a prescription.
For mild allergic rhinitis, a nasal wash can help remove mucus from your nose. You can buy a saline spray at a drugstore or make one at home. To make a nasal wash, use 1 cup of warm water, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of baking soda.
Make an appointment with your doctor if:
Corren J, Baroody FM, Pawankar R. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Adkinson NF Jr., Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al., eds. Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 42.
Greiner AN, Hellings PW, Rotiroti G, Scadding GK. Allergic rhinitis. Lancet. 2011;378(9809):2112-2122.
Updated by: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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