Allergic Rhinitis | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?

If your child has been experiencing any combination of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with a physician. A doctor will conduct a physical exam and look for:

  • dark circles under the eyes
  • creases under the eyes
  • swollen tissue inside the nose

What are the treatment options for allergic rhinitis?

Treatments for allergic rhinitis vary depending on your child's age, overall health, medical history, extent of the reaction, and tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies.

Be sure to check with your doctor before administering any treatment to your child.

Standard treatment for allergic rhinitis:

  • Avoidance of the allergen: Simply avoiding the allergens causing the problem is the best treatment.
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines: Antihistamines-like Benadryl or Atarax-help decrease the release of  histamine,  possibly decreasing the symptoms of itching, sneezing, or runny  nose. These can cause drowsiness.
  • Non-sedating prescription antihistamines: Will not cause drowsiness, and can include cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin), or fexofenadine (Allegra).
  • Anti-inflammatory nasal sprays: Can help decrease the swelling in the nose.
  • Corticosteroid nasal sprays: Can help decrease the swelling in the nose. They work best before symptoms start, but can also be used during a flare-up.
  • Decongestants: Help by making the blood vessels in the nose smaller, thus decreasing congestion. Available either over-the-counter or by prescription.

If your child doesn't respond to avoidance or to the above medications, an allergist may recommend allergy shots or immunotherapy. Immunotherapy usually involves a three to five year course of repeated injections of specific allergens. This will help decrease your child's reaction to these allergens.