Allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever, is the most common allergic disorder in Australia. It affects approximately 19% of the population 37.
Co-morbidities with allergic rhinitis include asthma, nasal polyps, Eustachian tube dysfunction, oral allergy syndrome, conjunctivitis and non-allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is a risk factor for the later development of asthma. Effective treatment of allergic rhinitis is important in asthma management. According to the Australasian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), patients with either asthma or allergic rhinitis should be screened for coexistent disease as:
- 50-80% of patients with asthma have allergic rhinitis
- 20-30% of patients with allergic rhinitis have asthma 37.
have developed numerous resources to assist clinicians in diagnosing and treating allergic rhinitis, including:
While most patients will be able to manage hay fever at home without visiting their GP, patients experiencing persistent symptoms (>4 days in a week for at least 4 weeks) or symptoms that affect their sleep and daily activities may require further investigations 38.
Oral allergy syndrome
Oral allergy syndrome (OAS), also known as pollen food syndrome, is a food allergy that usually results in itchy, swollen or tingly lips, mouth, tongue and throat. In rare occasions, it can cause anaphylaxis. OAS is usually triggered by raw fresh vegetables, fruits, spices or nuts 39.
OAS commonly occurs in people with asthma or allergic rhinitis as they are sensitised to inhaled tree, grass and weed pollens. These pollens contain proteins similar to those found in some foods. Pollen allergy usually precedes OAS, and OAS symptoms may be exacerbated by high levels of pollen in the air 39.
The ASCIA have developed an Oral Allergy Syndrome FAQ document to assist with the diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of OAS.