Allergy Associates of Dearborn
Roula H. Daher, M.D.
Allergist located in Dearborn, MI
Allergic Rhinitis Q & A
What is allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, develops when your immune system overreacts to a harmless substance and identifies it as something that’s bad for your body. Once the allergen is tagged, you’ll develop an allergic reaction every time you encounter it in the future.
There are two types of allergic rhinitis:
You have seasonal allergic rhinitis when your allergies are caused by pollen from trees, grasses, and ragweed, all plants that produce abundant pollen during specific seasons. Molds also cause seasonal allergies, but in warmer environments, they thrive throughout the year.
If you have allergy symptoms all year, you have a perennial allergy caused by dust, pet dander, cockroaches, or mold.
You can also have both types of allergies. When that happens, you have year-round symptoms that worsen during certain seasons.
What symptoms develop due to allergic rhinitis?
Many patients are quite familiar with the symptoms of allergic rhinitis:
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes, nose, or skin
- Postnasal drip
- Allergic shiner (bluish circles under your eyes)
Patients with allergic rhinitis often find that their symptoms are triggered by other irritants, such as cigarette smoke and car exhaust.
How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed and treated?
Many patients with mild seasonal allergies get the relief they need from over-the-counter medications that treat their symptoms. They can also diminish their allergies by reducing their exposure to known allergens, even if they haven’t had allergy testing.
When these steps don’t help, your symptoms are severe, or you have asthma, it’s time to consider seeing Dr. Daher for allergy testing and allergy shots. Allergy testing must be done first because allergy shots are specific for your allergens. Dr. Daher performs several types of testing, but for allergic rhinitis, she most often uses a skin prick test. This test is done in the office and produces results in about 15 minutes.
Once your allergens are identified, you can receive allergy shots, or immunotherapy. You’ll get shots on a regular schedule, starting with a very small dose of your allergen, then gradually increasing the dose. Eventually, your immune system becomes desensitized to the allergen and your allergic reactions stop or are significantly diminished.
When you can’t tolerate your allergy symptoms, call Allergy Associates Dearborn or schedule an appointment online.