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Allergic Rhinitis


Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is swelling of the inside of your nose. The swelling is a reaction to allergens in the air. An allergen can be anything that causes an allergic reaction. Allergies to weeds, grass, trees, or mold often cause seasonal allergic rhinitis. Indoor dust mites, cockroaches, pet dander, or mold can also cause allergic rhinitis.


Call 911 for the following:

  • You have chest pain or shortness of breath.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain.

  • You cough up blood.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have ear or sinus pain, or a headache.

  • Your symptoms get worse, even after treatment.

  • You have yellow, green, brown, or bloody mucus coming from your nose.

  • Your nose is bleeding or you have pain inside your nose.

  • You have trouble sleeping because of your symptoms.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines help decrease your symptoms and clear your stuffy nose.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

How to manage allergic rhinitis:

The best way to manage allergic rhinitis is to avoid allergens that can trigger your symptoms. Any of the following may help decrease your symptoms:

  • Rinse your nose and sinuses with a salt water solution or use a salt water nasal spray. This will help thin the mucus in your nose and rinse away pollen and dirt. It will also help reduce swelling so you can breathe normally. Ask your healthcare provider how often to rinse your nose.

  • Reduce exposure to dust mites. Wash sheets and towels in hot water every week. Cover your pillows and mattresses with allergen-free covers. Limit the number of stuffed animals and soft toys your child has. Wash your child's toys in hot water regularly. Vacuum weekly and use a vacuum cleaner with an air filter. If possible, get rid of carpets and curtains. These collect dust and dust mites.

  • Reduce exposure to pollen. Keep windows and doors closed in your house and car. Stay inside when air pollution or the pollen count is high. Run your air conditioner on recycle, and change air filters often. Shower and wash your hair before bed every night to rinse away pollen.

  • Reduce exposure to pet dander. If possible, do not keep cats, dogs, birds, or other pets. If you do keep pets in your home, keep them out of bedrooms and carpeted rooms. Bathe them often.

  • Reduce exposure to mold. Do not spend time in basements. Choose artificial plants instead of live plants. Keep your home's humidity at less than 45%. Do not have ponds or standing water in your home or yard.

  • Do not smoke. Avoid others who smoke. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to see an allergist often to control your symptoms. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.