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healthhouse   , 26

from Los Angeles


Allergic Rhinitis (Catarrh): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Allergic Rhinitis or catarrh (as it is usually called) could be described as one old after another. It involves a recurring runny, stuffy, itchy nose and frequent sneezing. Often, the eyes are itchy, red and watery. These symptoms are the result of an allergic reaction in the mucous membrane or lining of the nose and /or eye.

Main types

Allergic rhinitis is a common problem; equal numbers of boys and girls are affected. Heredity may play a role as it does with other allergic diseases, but it isn't possible to predict which child in a family is likely to develop this condition and at what age.

There are two main types of allergic rhinitis:

  • Perennial allergic rhinitis: It occurs all year round. It is usually caused by house dust, animal danders (skin scales) or molds and irritants such as pollution and tobacco smoke.
  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis: It is also called hay fever. It usually occurs in the spring and early summers. It may affect the eyes, even more, the nose. It is usually caused by pollen from trees and grass and spring mold spores.

What causes allergic rhinitis?

The lining of the nose is affected by colds and allergic factors just as the lungs are. In young children, dust, animals and possibly foods tend to cause inflammation in the nose. However, after several allergy seasons, the child's nose may become sensitized to new allergies such as tree, grass or weed pollens.

At any age, irritants such as dry air, tobacco, pollution, rapid weather changes, humidity, cosmetics, and perfumes might trigger a reaction in the nose. These irritants act on an already hypersensitive nose which has become "twitchy" because of the inflammatory changes due to the allergic reactions.


To treat allergic rhinitis, reduce your child's contact with the irritants. There are many things you can do to change your child's contact with the irritants. You can also use drugs to treat allergic rhinitis. Antihistamines are used to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. They may also be used for other allergic problems such as urticaria or eczema. They are available in pill, time-release capsules or liquid form and can also be given by injection or as creams.

Antihistamines work by blocking the action of a chemical called histamine, which is released by allergically sensitized tissues. It is best to give antihistamines before the allergic reaction or as early as possible. Giving such medicines before an allergic reaction is obviously difficult. However, if the child is having frequent problems, these drugs can be given daily for a few weeks as necessary or even during an entire allergy season.

The major side effect of antihistamines is sedation. Sometimes this drowsiness may lessen after a few days. When it persists, you should inform your doctor. He or she may recommend a change in the dosage or drug prescribed. There are numerous antihistamines available.

Medication is an effective remedy. However, you should seek preventions rather than cures. You can find useful ways to prevent your children from allergies on allergyhacks.org.