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GSE GSE Allergic Rhinitis

ABOUT: Allergic Rhinitis (AR)

Allergic rhinitis is a common chronic autoimmune respiratory condition

–   AR occurs when the body's immune system (IS) over-reacts to specific, non-infectious air-borne particles (allergens) –for the purpose of:

✔ Expelling an allergen – induces sneezing, watery/itchy eyes, and runny nose;

✔ Preventing more of the allergen from entering the body - increases mucus production and swelling of the nasal passages.

During an allergy attack, antibodies, usually immunoglobin E (IgE) attach to IS cells, including histamine-releasing basophils in circulation and mast cells in the lungs, skin, and mucous membranes. When IgE antibodies bound to I.S. cells encounter antigens (called allergens when involved with allergies), the IS cells are prompted to release chemicals that injure surrounding tissues. One chemical released is histamine, which opens the blood vessels causing skin redness and swollen membranes. In the nose, this manifests as sneezing and congestion.

–   Typical allergens include - plant pollens, some fungi, house plants, mold spores / mildew, dust mites, animal dander, industrial chemicals (including tobacco smoke), foods, medicines, and insect venom.

–   Affects people of all ages –and an estimated 30% of Westerners

There are two types of allergic rhinitis:

(1) SEASONAL allergic rhinitis(better known as "Hay fever") – affects > 23 million Americans annually. Tree and grass pollens and some fungi trigger seasonal allergic nose and eye allergy during springtime and early summer. Seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms include nasal and eye itching with explosive sneezing, watery eyes and nose and itchy palate and ears, with profuse post-nasal drip. Seasonal allergic rhinitis patients do not develop the typical "allergy face" but have seasonal puffiness of the eyes and eyelids with associated nasal membrane swelling.

(2) PERENNIAL allergic rhinitis - usually caused by indoor allergens such as house dust mites and pet skin flakes. Perennial allergic rhinitis is similar to hay fever, in that the allergen causes inflammation and irritation of the delicate linings in the nose and eyes. However, the allergic rhinitis goes on throughout the year as opposed to seasonal allergic rhinitis which occurs only during certain seasons.

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