Allergic Rhinitis Symptoms & Causes

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What is allergic rhinitis?

Rhinitis is a common reaction that occurs airborne irritants trigger the release of histamines. This can cause inflammation and excess fluid in the nose, sinuses and eyelids.

Types of allergic rhinitis


  • Occurs mostly during pollen seasons.
  • Doesn't usually develop until after 6 years of age.


  • Occurs throughout the year
  • Commonly seen in younger children

What causes allergic rhinitis?

The most common causes of allergic rhinitis are:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Animal dander

Is allergic rhinitis inherited?

Allergic rhinitis is almost always inherited.

  • Affects up to 20 percent of children and 30 percent of adolescents
  • It's estimated that 75 percent of children with asthma also have allergic rhinitis

What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

Each child may experience symptoms of allergic rhinitis differently, but common symptoms include:

  •  Sneezing
  •  Congestion
  •  Runny nose
  •  Itchy nose, throat, eyes and ears
  •  Nosebleeds
  • Clear drainage from the nose

Symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis may also include the following:

  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Snoring
  • Mouth breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Poor performance in school
  •  "Allergic salute" - when a child rubs his hand upward across the  bridge of the nose while sniffing.

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

Can allergic rhinitis be prevented?

You can help your child avoid allergic rhinitis by:

  • Using air conditioning, instead of open windows, during pollen season
  • Avoiding areas where there is heavy dust, mites or molds
  • Avoiding pets
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