Last reviewed: March 2020
Last updated: December  2019

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • presence of risk factors
  • sneezing
  • nasal pruritus

Other diagnostic factors

  • palate, throat, ear, and eye itching
  • eye redness, puffiness, and watery discharge
  • fatigue and irritability
  • nasal congestion
  • rhinorrhoea
  • allergic shiners
  • conjunctival injection
  • ocular mucoid discharge
  • nasal crease
  • pale nasal mucosa
  • swelling of the nasal mucosa and turbinates
  • abundant clear nasal secretions
  • Dennie-Morgan lines (creases present under the lower eyelids)

Risk factors

  • family history of atopy
  • age <20 years
  • positive allergen skin-prick tests
  • inadequate exposure to animals and other micro-organism-rich environments in early life
  • Western lifestyle
  • ethnicity
  • environmental pollution
  • exposure to indoor allergens such as animal dander and dust mites
  • heavy maternal smoking (20 or more cigarettes/day during the first year of life)
  • early introduction of foods or formula
  • breastfeeding
  • presence of other atopic conditions (eczema, food allergies, wheezing/asthma)

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • therapeutic trial of antihistamine or intranasal corticosteroid
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • allergen skin-prick testing
  • in vitro specific IgE determination
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

Contributors

Regent

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Medical Director

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Registry

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine

Medical College of Wisconsin

Adjunct Clinical Instructor

College of Nursing

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Executive Director

Fight Asthma Milwaukee Allies

Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center

Milwaukee

WI

Disclosures

GCS has taken part in sponsored research for the ALK clinical trial of the house dust mite SLIT tablet for use in paediatric patients. He is a member of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters Workgroup on the Allergic Rhinitis Practice Parameter.

Dr Gary C. Steven would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Alexander Greiner, a previous contributor to this topic.

Peer reviewersVIEW ALL

Clinical Immunology Coordinator

Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy

Winthrop-University Hospital

Mineola

NY

Disclosures

MDL declares that he has no competing interests.

Consultant Allergist/Rhinologist

Allergy & Rhinology Department

Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital

London

UK

Disclosures

GS is a consultant/advisory board member for ALK, Britannia Pharmaceuticals, CMP Therapeutics, Groupo Uriach, GSK, Merck, Sanofi-Aventis, Schering Plough, and UCB. She has received research funds from ALK, GSK, UCB, and Schering Plough. She has given talks for ALK, GSK, Merck, Schering Plough, and UCB and has co-written articles for Schering Plough and GSK.

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