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Perennial Rhinitis and Indoor Allergies

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Perennial rhinitis is irritation and inflammation of the nose that is characterized by itching, sneezing, and post nasal drip. Perennial means year-round. Therefore, this type of rhinitis can be experienced at any time of the year. Perennial rhinitis is a form of Allergic Rhinitis, meaning it is caused by allergen triggers and it a lot like hay fever. However, it occurs year round because the triggers are not seasonal allergens like tree pollen and grass pollen, but instead are indoor allergens like dust, mold, chemicals and pet danger.

If the causes of perennial rhinitis are left unaddressed and the symptoms are not properly treated, it can lead to chronic rhinitis. Overall, the best course of action is to identify your allergy triggers and take steps to actively avoid them, or remove them from your environment.

Causes

This type of rhinitis can be caused by any type of airborne allergen. Its sources can be outdoor, seasonal allergens, or indoor allergens. For people who have many different allergies, their symptoms can last year round. This is because there is always a new allergen in the air that can irritate your nasal passages. When the tree pollen dies down in the spring, the grass pollen picks up in the summer, followed by the ragweed pollen in the fall. When the cold finally kills off all the weeds/pollen, then you spend more time indoors where the dust, pets, and chemical allergies have more of an impact. Therefore, the list of potential causes can be quite long. The list below is far from incomplete, but represents the broadest categories of allergens that could be to blame:

  • Tree Pollen
  • Grass Pollen
  • Weed Pollen (Ragweed)
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Pet Dander
  • Cockroach Allergens
  • Dust Mites
  • Chemicals

Symptoms

Perennial rhinitis symptoms will be very similar to most other allergy or hay fever symptoms because it is most often caused by airborne allergens:

  • Runny Nose
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Post Nasal Drip
  • Sneezing

Additional Symptoms

Although Rhinitis means irritation of the nose, your symptoms will not necessarily be confined to that area. Here are some other common symptoms you are likely to experience as well:

  • Red/itchy Eyes
  • Watery Eyes
  • Irritated Skin
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Constricted Airway
  • Wheezing

Treatment

Because the sources of perennial rhinitis are most often airborne allergens (especially indoor allergens), you have the most options when it comes to treating this irritation. You can used treatments that work on both outdoor allergies as well as ones that only work on indoor allergies. By using a combination of all of these treatments, you will be in the best position to achieve relief from perennial rhinitis.

OTC medicines: Antihistamines, decongestants, and expectorants can all be used to prevent or relive the symptoms that you will be experiencing. Be careful not to overuse nasal spray decongestants as it can lead to another problem called Rhinitis Medicamentosa.

Regular Cleaning: You should regularly clean and dust in your home to prevent the accumulation of dust and allergens that can cause an allergic reaction. Be sure to dust on top of your ceiling fan blades as well!

AC Filters: Replace your AC filters regularly to filter larger dust particles out of the air in your home.

Duct Cleaning: Having your AC Ducts cleaned professionally can also greatly reduce the amount of dust that is circulated around your home as well.

Air purifier: Use an air purifier in your bedroom and keep the doors/vents closed on days in which your allergies are really acting up. An air purifier is a great way to remove a lot of very tiny allergens out of the air that can bypass your AC filter and also stay airborne for very long periods of time.

Pet Control: If you have indoor pets that contribute to your allergic reactions, there are a number of steps you can take in order to control the amount of allergens your pets spread around the home. Regularly cleaning/grooming, keeping them off of furniture, and keeping them out of your bedroom. Also wiping them down to remove allergens if they come in from the outdoors.

For a more comprehensive list of treatments and a more thorough explanation of each one, see our Hay Fever Treatment page.

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