Most common symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, itchy and runny nose, nasal congestion, post nasal drainage and itchy throat. It is the recurrence of the symptoms, the lack of fever or muscle aches which distinguishes allergic rhinitis from the common cold or flu. The most frequent complication is sinus infections, otherwise known as sinusitis, which may affect the various sinus cavities. Symptoms then include purulent nasal drainage, bad breath, headaches and "head congestion".
Sinusitis is frequently misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated. Incorrect treatment of chronic sinusitis may lead to more complicated situation which may require sinus surgery. It is important to recognize allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, identifie the potential offending allergens, evaluate any potential complication and apply appropriate treatment. The treatment of allergic rhinitis/sinusitis is not restricted only to symptomatic relief medications such as antihistamines, decongestants and anti-inflamatory nasal sprays. Prophylactic therapy is crucial to the successful control of this chronic condition which include allergen avoidance and potentially immunotherapy in selected patients. Desensitization immunotherapy, commonly called allergy shots is the only potentially curative treatment available in allergic respiratory illnesses.
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