Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis occurs in patients who have allergies to substances such as pollen, dust mites, mold, or cat saliva. Individuals with allergic rhinitis typically experience sneezing, a runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, and fatigue. They may also develop hives, itchy skin, dark circles under the eyes, coughing, or a sore throat. Asthma, a known risk factor for nasal polyps, also increases the risk of having allergic rhinitis. Air pollution, cigarette smoke, fumes, and humidity can worsen this condition. Doctors perform a physical exam, a skin prick test, and a RAST blood test to diagnose allergic rhinitis. Treatment options include antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, and immunotherapy (allergy shots or tablets).
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