Do You Have Allergies or Just Allergy-Like Symptoms?

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Woman Blowing NoseIf you regularly suffer from constant sneezing as well as a runny and stuffy nose, it is likely that you have attributed these symptoms to allergies. However, these symptoms can also be caused by a condition called nonallergic rhinitis. Approximately 19 million Americans suffer from nonallergic rhinitis, compared to 58 million Americans who suffer from allergies.

The condition we commonly refer to as ‘allergies’ is actually called allergic rhinitis and it occurs when our body’s immune system mistakes harmless substances, such as pollen or grass, for harmful substances such as bacteria. Nonallergic rhinitis causes roughly the same symptoms as allergic rhinitis but does not involve the immune system. In fact, there is no known cause for nonallergic rhinitis. 

So, how do you differentiate between allergic and nonallergic rhinitis?

Oftentimes, nonallergic rhinitis can only be confirmed after allergy tests and blood tests have been conducted to rule out allergic rhinitis or infection.

Nonallergic rhinitis can cause a person to feel just as sick as a person suffering from allergies. It can also lead to the same complications as allergies, such as: asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, sinusitis, chronic ear infection, and loss of smell, among others.

A recent study conducted by a number of specialists has revealed some interesting facts about the differences between people who suffer from allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. The study suggests that people with allergies are more likely to present symptoms during spring and summer, and tend to suffer from eye itchiness, throat itchiness, and eye redness.

The study also suggests that visiting a green area is a bigger trigger for people with allergies, while detergent odor, sudden temperature change, and cold air is a more common trigger for people who suffer from nonallergic rhinitis.

There is no known cure for nonallergic rhinitis, but it can be controlled by: taking over the counter medication or prescription medication, using home remedies such as nasal irrigation, and avoiding triggers.

If you suffer from the symptoms mentioned above it is important that you visit an ENT so they can run the appropriate tests to identify whether you suffer from allergic or nonallergic rhinitis and what the proper treatment will be for your particular case.

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