Your Allergies May Not Be Allergies At All

April 18, 2018

Dreamstime

Congestion, running nose, itchy ears, all signs of allergies and this time of year it is hard to escape.  But are grass, tree and weed pollens to blame?  Not necessarily.  Many people suffer from common condition known as nonallergic rhinitis, a reaction that can be triggered by an infection, a sensitivity to chemicals or drugs, changes in weather patterns, and more. Nonallergic rhinitis affects about a third as many people as seasonal allergies, usually shows up in adulthood, and it may be responsible for between 17 and 52 percent of seasonal-allergy-like symptoms. For example, you may suddenly become congested, have a runny nose, or sneeze when you sit near a smoker or walk down the detergent aisle of the grocery store. Cold, dry air and food (especially spicy items) can set off similar symptoms. So that is why allergy medicines seem to be ineffective. To see whether you have an allergy or something else, start by keeping track of your seasonal allergy symptoms, when you experience them, and what seems to trigger them. Symptoms are similar with nasal congestion, itchy and watery eyes and sneezing.  However Nonallergic Rhinitis usually doesn't cause an itchy throat.  Also if your allergies seem to be year round, they're not allergies as outdoor allergies usually start in February or March and end in October. Talk with your doctor but treatment for Nonallergic Rhinitis is requires a different type of medication to treat.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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