Treatment of allergic rhinitis depends on your condition and how it impacts your life. Your general practitioner (GP) may suggest using over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms or seeing an allergist for medication and other treatments.
Over-the-counter Medicines: Antihistamines can help relieve itching, runny nose and sneezing associated with allergic rhinitis. If these medicines don’t work or if there are side effects, then you may need to see an allergist for prescription medication. They will also inquire about your family history and medical history including any existing health problems.
Non-drug therapies: Natural herbs, teas and other home remedies may be beneficial. Unfortunately, they haven’t been tested for safety so if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease these remedies could be hazardous.
Immunotherapy: This type of allergy treatment consists of taking pills under the tongue that have been found safe for many types of allergies. Unfortunately, it requires daily dosages for several months each year in order to be successful.
Skin Testing: Your allergist will place small amounts of various allergens on your skin and observe which ones cause symptoms, helping them identify the source of your rhinitis and create a treatment plan tailored specifically for you.
Drugs: Your doctor will likely prescribe a steroid nasal spray to prevent sneezing and runny nose, and an antihistamine spray to control itching, watery eyes or other symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. Studies have demonstrated that taking both treatments together was more effective than either one alone in treating allergic rhinitis, according to three clinical trials.
Occupational Rhinitis: People who suffer from work-related rhinitis experience sneezing, itching or blocked nose and watery eyes after being exposed to airborne dust, irritants or chemicals at work. Common triggers can include cleaning products, corrosive gases or certain types of dust and mold.
Children can develop allergic rhinitis just like adults, though their symptoms tend to be more severe and last longer.
In most cases, allergic rhinitis can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medicines and other measures to alleviate symptoms. In certain instances, allergy shots (injections) may be administered in order to reduce its severity.
Allergic rhinitis can be a difficult condition to manage, resulting in symptoms that disrupt sleep or lower quality of life. If these signs persist, it’s recommended that you visit your GP.
Your doctor will take a comprehensive history of your symptoms and look for clues in your lifestyle, family history and medical record to pinpoint the source of your rhinitis. They may then suggest allergy tests to identify which allergens are causing you distress.
As part of your treatment plan for allergic rhinitis, you may need to take an antihistamine such as a first generation H1 antihistamine. While these drugs can reduce itching, sneezing and nasal obstruction caused by allergies, they may have undesirable side effects like drowsiness or sedation that could interfere with work or school performance.