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Allergies

Introduction

An allergy is an abnormal immune response or increased sensitivity, to substances known as allergens which are usually proteins. Non-allergic triggers include temperature or barometric pressure changes or odors/irritants such as cleaning agents, fragrances/potpourris, tobacco smoke or vehicle exhaust to name a few. A person with allergies experiences symptoms when exposed to common allergens such as tree, grass, ragweed pollen, cats/dogs and dust mites that correlate with allergy testing. A non-allergic person would respond to irritants and weather changes and allergy testing would be negative. Both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis are very important conditions that need to be differentiated from one another as the treatment of these conditions is quite different from one another.

Patients with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) often have itching of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, runny nose, sneezing, nasal stuffiness and drainage in the back of the throat. Patients with allergic rhinitis are at increased risk for developing asthma. In most cases, with the appropriate medication and avoidance measures, allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis can be very well controlled to the satisfaction of both the patient and the physician.

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Last Reviewed: Jun 01, 2006

David I Bernstein, MD David I Bernstein, MD
Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

I Leonard Bernstein, MD I Leonard Bernstein, MD
Clinical Professor Emeritus
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati