What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of Allergic Rhinitis?

Do you sneeze frequently by the time spring or fall season arrives? Does it bother your nose when tiny pollen grains abound in the air during those times of the year? In addition to sneezing, does it involve watery nasal discharge, itching and a clogged nose? You probably have allergic rhinitis.

Our body reacts when harmful foreign substances enter. In the case of allergic rhinitis, there is an overreaction to things that don’t normally cause problems for most individuals. For people with allergic rhinitis, their body releases a chemical known as histamine, which is a defense mechanism against the invading allergen. Unfortunately, this same chemical is what triggers the allergic symptoms.

Common triggers of allergic rhinitis symptoms include pollen from grass and weed, mold, pet dander and dust.

Pollen: Often the culprits of allergic rhinitis symptoms are tree pollens, which are abundant during the spring months of April and May. By late May to mid-July, grass and weed pollens are common. As late August arrives up to the first frost, ragweed is widespread. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis tend to get worse on dry summer days when the winds carry much pollen. As the rainy season enters, there is less pollen in the air as it is washed to the ground, thus providing relief to allergic rhinitis sufferers.

Mold: Where water tends to gather, there is mold. This is usually found in window moldings, damp basements and shower curtains. If your trigger is mold, it is also best to stay away from hay, peat moss, rotting logs, leaf litter and compost piles. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis tend to get worse during wet and humid weather.

Pet Dander: Do you have furry pets at home? If you don’t seem to get relief from your sneezing or clogged nose, allergic rhinitis symptoms may be caused by pet dander.

Dust: Allergic rhinitis symptoms are also triggered by dust, which may consist of dead skin cells and other things that are invisible to the eye. Make sure you clean your bedding, mattresses and carpets regularly to make them as dust-free as possible.


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