Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the membranes lining the nose. The disease is characterized by sneezing, congestion, clear mucous and itchiness in the nasal passages or roof of the mouth. The disease may exist along with allergic conjunctivitis (characterized by itchy, watery eyes that may also be red or swollen).
Allergic rhinitis may be seasonal or perennial (year round), or may occur sporadically after specific exposures to allergens.
- Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) tends to be associated with cyclical changes in the environment. About 10 to 30% of the population has seasonal rhinitis.
- Perennial allergic rhinitis does not show a seasonal pattern; this may reflect the patient’s continuous exposure to the offending allergen (e.g., animals, house dust mites, occupational exposures).
Assessment of the patient begins with:
- a detailed history regarding the pattern, frequency, duration, severity and seasonality of symptoms
- response to medications
- presence of coexisting conditions (especially hereditary conditions)
- occupational exposure
- environmental history and
- identification of precipitating factors
We pay attention to how your symptoms affect your quality of life, physical and social functioning, mental health, energy level and general health. We also discuss your response to the previous medications you have tried.
Many allergic rhinitis cases do not require testing, but testing can be helpful to:
- distinguish allergic from non-allergic rhinitis symptoms
- identify specific allergens that may cause symptoms and
- identify allergens for immunotherapy
Skin tests are more sensitive, faster and more cost effective than RAST* testing.
Antihistamines should be stopped 7-10 days before skin testing, but do not need to be stopped prior to RAST serum tests. Intranasal corticosteroids, leukotriene inhibitors, decongestants, oral corticosteroids do not need to be stopped for skin testing.
*RAST (short for “radioallergosorbent") is a blood test used to determine the substances a person is allergic to.
We begin with the simplest, least expensive, least invasive and lowest risk forms of intervention. Then we proceed to more advanced treatment options, as necessary, if the symptoms are not controlled with the first step or two.
We recommend the following step-by-step approach:
- Proper identification of all the allergens that trigger your allergy reactions:
- Pollens – usually from trees, grasses and weeds
- House dust mites
- Animal allergens
- Insect allergens
- Avoidance measures to minimize exposure to those allergens.
- Pharmacotherapy (medication) to control symptoms.
- Immunotherapy (vaccines or allergy shots) in patients where it is possible and likely to be effective.
- Special pharmaceutical therapies.
- Surgery for patients who have persistent nasal obstruction and have had inadequate responses to the prior therapies.
Why Come to Michigan for Allergic Rhinitis Treatment?
- We treat more than 5,000 patients every year.
- We take a step-by-step approach that takes you – as a whole person – into account.
- If you need surgery, we perform more than 500 sinus surgeries every year. And, when it comes to surgery, experience really counts.