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Feature Article

Allergic rhinitis: a rite of spring and all other seasons

Janet Rimmer

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Abstract

Rhinitis is a common condition affecting 20 to 30% of the population. While seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is confined to the pollen season, allergic rhinitis is often perennial. As well as causing typical symptoms, rhinitis can significantly impair quality of life. Allergic factors can be identified easily and specific avoidance or therapy prescribed.

Key Points

  • Rhinitis is a common condition affecting children and adults that often impairs quality of life.
  • Symptoms of are frequently perennial. Signs can include nasal obstruction and an abnormal nasal mucosa.
  • Allergic causes of rhinitis can be easily demonstrated by skin prick testing or, where appropriate, RAST.
  • Treatment should be targeted at the main symptom or symptoms.
  • Management should include allergen avoidance and medication (over-the-counter and prescription); immunotherapy, a specific form of therapy, may also be effective.

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