Allergic rhinitis and asthma – one airway, one approach
It is crucial for practice nurses to understand how to determine the severity of symptoms of allergic rhinitis. In this article, Beverley Bostock discusses how nurses can identify the relationship between asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a condition which presents with symptoms such as a runny, itchy or blocked nose. It is also associated with ocular symptoms such as watering and itchy eyes. The symptoms of AR can significantly affect quality of life and the ability to take part in day-to-day activities. The impact can be felt from the condition alone or through the effect it can have on other conditions, most notably asthma.
In this article we consider the importance of making a diagnosis of allergic rhinitis and determine the severity of symptoms so that appropriate treatment strategies and ongoing management can be implemented.
By the end of this article, readers should be able to:
Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a condition which affects the nasal mucosa and, in some cases, other organs including the eyes, palate, and lungs (Hossenbaccus et al 2020). The condition results from an IgE-mediated reaction to airborne allergens (Bantz, Zhu & Zheng 2014). These allergens vary throughout the year and from person to person and might include pollen, moulds, house dust mite and animals. People with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) will develop symptoms when they are exposed to a specific seasonal allergen (or allergens). Other people will experience year-round symptoms and are said to have perennial AR (PAR). SAR is a key cause of an increase in asthma symptoms, exacerbations and deaths, especially in children and young people (Royal College of Physicians 2014, D’Amato et al 2016).
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