Is it just a cold? Or is it allergic rhinitis?

Is it a lingering cold or allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) symptoms can easily be mistaken for the common cold or the starting symptoms of a viral infection, so if you’ve had a lingering “cold” or “congestion, it’s worth having a chat to your doctor or pharmacist to get a more accurate diagnosis. With mild symptoms you may find you can still function normally in your daily life, however, with more severe symptoms, your ability to function, work or learn may be impaired.

Untreated allergic rhinitis can sometimes cause complications such as:

  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Headaches usually above the eyes or in the cheeks
  • Lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Recurrent sinus infections (in adults and children)
  • Cough

 Managing your symptoms, from mild to severe.

If you are diagnosed with allergic rhinitis and are able to narrow down your potential trigger, then that’s a great start as you may be able to minimise your exposure to those irritants. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible. The good news is there are plenty of options that may help manage those symptoms so that you can improve your quality of life.

  1. If your symptoms are mild then non-sedating antihistamine tablets or antihistamine nasal spray may be helpful. Washing away pollens, allergens or other irritants with a preservative-free nasal saline or sinus wash can also be very helpful.
  2. If your symptoms are moderate or severe, then a medicated nasal spray (recommended by your healthcare practitioner) used daily may be effective. The results can be improved further by cleaning your nose 10 minutes prior to using your medicated spray with preservative free saline nasal saline.
  3. If your nose is very blocked due to your allergies, try a preservative-free nasal decongestant spray for 3 days (or as advised by your healthcare practitioner). Use this nasal spray to help reduce the nasal congestion. Then use the medicated nasal spray 10 minutes after to reduce the level of nasal inflammation and help control your symptoms. You may still use a saline spray when out and about too, to help wash away those triggers when you’re exposed to them.

Remember your doctor or pharmacist is there to help with the most suitable treatments for your condition and even show you the correct technique for using your allergy medication and/or nasal sprays. You’d be surprised too how easy they are once you get the hang of them.  For those with more sensitive noses and for children, you can be reassured there are some very gentle micro mist nasal sprays available.

So whether it’s a bothersome cough, cold or snotty nose which just doesn’t seem to want to go away, don’t delay in speaking with your doctor or pharmacist and get help today.