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Feature Article

Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis returns: the new spring season 2013

Janet Rimmer
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Abstract

The prevalence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis peaks in the spring and early summer months, the time of year when most plants flower and produce pollen. Allergy assessment continues to be a cornerstone for the diagnosis of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.

Key Points

  • Seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis is caused by exposure to pollen and also moulds.
  • Northern Hemisphere plants introduced into Australia generally produce larger quantities and more allergenic pollen than plants native to Australia.
  • Patients with the condition should be asked about both seasonal and perennial allergic triggers as often both are important.
  • The nasal and ocular symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis may be accompanied by systemic symptoms such as poor sleep quality, fatigue and irritability.
  • Allergy assessment is the basis of diagnosis and is essential for the facilitation of immunotherapy.
  • Most patients with asthma also have rhinitis, and 15 to 30% of patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis have concomitant asthma.

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