What is Pediatric Allergic Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies)?
Allergic rhinitis is also known as seasonal allergies, hay fever or nasal allergies, and is characterized by itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and other sinus symptoms. It is triggered by allergens such as pollen, mold or dust that enter the body through the nose or mouth (inhalant allergens).
The body’s immune system is designed to protect from harmful germs and bacteria. Sometimes, when the immune system mistakes pollen or allergens for something more serious, it can mount an immune response, which may lead to the release of inflammatory cells and mediators.
This response causes nasal passages, sinuses and eyes to swell and can create other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or watery eyes. These symptoms are a result of the body trying to get rid of the allergens or prevent them from entering.
What are the different types of Pediatric Allergic Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies)?
Allergic rhinitis is usually classified by the frequency and severity of symptoms and episodes. Depending on the classification, your child’s doctor can create a treatment plan that will manage nasal allergy symptoms and bring relief.
Allergic Rhinitis frequency
Frequency refers to how often your child experiences symptoms. It is divided into intermittent or persistent:
- Intermittent allergic rhinitis is diagnosed if your child has symptoms less than four days a week or four weeks of the year.
- Persistent allergic rhinitis is diagnosed if your child’s symptoms occur more than four days a week or four weeks of the year.
Allergic Rhinitis severity
The severity of your child’s nasal allergies can help your doctor determine how much the symptoms are interfering with your child’s quality of life. Severity is divided into mild, moderate or severe:
- Mild allergic rhinitis does not affect daily activities or sleep patterns.
- Moderate to severe allergic rhinitis interferes with sleep, daily activities, sports, leisure activities, school or triggers serious symptoms, such as asthma attacks.
What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Allergic Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies)?
- Stuffy nose/nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Post nasal drainage
How is Pediatric Allergic Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies) diagnosed?
An allergy work-up is an important step of diagnosing allergic rhinitis. This includes a thorough history, physical exam and allergy testing when appropriate.
What are the causes of Pediatric Allergic Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies)?
Allergic rhinitis symptoms occur when a person inhales something they are allergic to. Common allergens include:
- Pet dander
- Pollen (weeds, grasses, trees)
How is Pediatric Allergic Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies) treated?
Your child’s doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your child’s nasal allergy triggers. Treatment may include:
- Controlling environmental triggers
- Medication to help manage symptoms
We are committed to helping your child find relief with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to effectively manage nasal allergy symptoms. Learn more about the Children’s Health approach to diagnosing and treating allergic rhinitis.