Allergic rhinitis is a disease manifesting as a group of symptoms affecting the nose. These symptoms come about because someone has breathed in substances in the air that they are allergic to. These substances are called allergens.


An Allergen is a name given to any substance that can lead to the body reacting to it when breathed in or eaten. Each time a person is exposed to the allergen, the body reacts by producing some chemicals so as to contain or stop the allergen from causing harm to the body. A person is thus said to have an allergy.

These allergens can be pollen from flowers, mold, animal dander, cockroaches, dust mites

or dust.


These symptoms can occur seasonally or through out the year when the allergen is present. These symptoms occur shortly after you come into contact with the substance you are allergic to. They may include:

  • Itchy nose, mouth, eyes, throat or skin
  • Runny nose which is clear watery
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes

Other symptoms that may develop later include:

  • nasal congestion or blockage
  • blocked ears and decreased sense of smell
  • swelling under the eyes
  • Headache
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Coughing


The health care provider will ask you about your symptoms history and examine you.

Sometimes allergen tests can also be done in some cases in which a skin prick test or blood samples are gotten.



Allergic rhinitis is due to allergy and therefore there is no cure but there are ways to improve symptoms when they occur.


Avoidance of the allergens would be the best to reduce symptoms but it is often difficult.


Your doctor may prescribe some drugs that will help reduce the symptoms. They are grouped into antihistamines, leukotriene inhibitors, steroids and decongestants.


  1. Corren J, Baroody FM, Pawankar R. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Adkinson NF Jr, Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al, eds. Middleton’s Allergy: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 42.