Charlottesville Allergy & Respiratory Enterprises
434-295-ASAP (2727) 1524 Insurance Lane, Suite B, Charlottesville, Virginia 22911

Rhinitis (Hay Fever) in Charlottesville

Individuals who suffer from frequent sneezing, itchy or runny nose and congestion may be suffering from rhinitis. Rhinitis is believed to affect upto 40% of children and 10-30% of adults in the US. Rhinitis can be classified as Allergic and Non-allergic.

Allergic rhinitis is caused by aero-allergens. Symptoms result from the body's immune response to the allergen, which results in antibodies that release chemicals, that further result in symptoms such as post-nasal drip, runny nose, itching, stuffiness and sneezing. Individuals with allergic rhinitis may also have watery eyes that are more sensitive to cold, dry air, smoke and perfume. The symptoms of rhinitis commonly co-occur with sinus and ear problems, asthma, and even trouble sleeping. When allergic rhinitis is related to outdoor allergens such as tree, grass and weed pollen, it is called seasonal allergic rhinitis, or "hay fever." However, individuals can have rhinitis all year-round as a result of indoor allergens such as pets, mold and dust mites. This is called perennial allergic rhinitis.

Your allergist can help identify which allergens, if any, are causing your symptoms and then discuss treatment options with you. These options may include plans for avoiding allergens, taking medications, and sometimes allergy shots or immunotherapy.

Non-Allergic Rhinitis refers to the presence of rhinitis symptoms in individuals who may not have allergies. Non-allergic rhinitis usually begins in adults and often causes year-round symptoms, especially including runny nose and nasal stuffiness. It has been reported that pollution, smoke and similar irritants and strong odors may cause these symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis. Furthermore, such symptoms may also be related to adverse effects of certain medications, including some blood pressure medicines, oral contraceptives or medications used for erectile dysfunction. Interestingly, prolonged use of nasal decongestant sprays may also result in a form of non-allergic rhinitis termed as rhinitis medicamentosa. Treatment options for non-allergic rhinitis are best discussed with your allergist.

(Information only; not intended to replace medical advice; adapted from AAAAI)