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Persistent Sneezing: Exploring the Causes of Chronic Allergic Rhinitis

Sneezing is a natural bodily response to irritants, but when it becomes persistent, it can be more than just an annoyance.
ENT Specialist - ENT Surgeons Medical Centre - Persistent Sneezing Exploring the Causes of Chronic Allergic Rhinitis
UPDATED ON MARCH 5, 2024 • REVIEWED BY DR. DENNIS CHUA


Knowing when to seek the professional advice of an ENT doctor is critical for effective treatment. Find out the essential questions to ask an ENT specialist during a visit and be empowered with knowledge for proactive ENT care.

Understanding Chronic Allergic Rhinitis


Chronic allergic rhinitis is a long-term condition characterised by inflammation of the nasal passages and other allergy-related symptoms. It typically lasts longer than 12 weeks. Acute rhinitis, on the other hand, only lasts for a few days or up to 4 weeks.

Those with chronic allergic rhinitis experience ongoing symptoms, often triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and more.

Common symptoms of chronic allergic rhinitis include:
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue

Causes of Chronic Allergic Rhinitis

1. Environmental Triggers

Allergens play a significant role in chronic allergic rhinitis. Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds can trigger symptoms, especially during specific seasons. Indoor allergens like dust mites, mould spores, and pet dander can also worsen symptoms, making it important to identify and minimise exposure to these triggers.

2. Genetic Predisposition

Family history can contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to allergic rhinitis. Children with one or both parents who have allergies are highly likely to develop similar allergic conditions.

3. Food Allergy

While rare, certain foods can also trigger allergic reactions that manifest as chronic allergic rhinitis symptoms. Common food allergens include nuts, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products. Individuals with food allergies may experience nasal congestion and other allergic rhinitis symptoms after consuming allergenic foods.

4. Air Quality

Poor air quality can exacerbate symptoms of chronic allergic rhinitis. High levels of air pollution and exposure to tobacco smoke can worsen nasal congestion and irritation.

Diagnosis and Identifying Triggers

If you suspect you have chronic allergic rhinitis, seeking a medical diagnosis is crucial. A healthcare professional will perform a thorough evaluation and may recommend allergy tests to identify specific allergens triggering your symptoms. Common tests include skin prick tests and blood tests to measure allergen-specific antibodies.

Book an appointment with ENT specialist Dr Dennis Chua to discuss your symptoms.

Management and Treatment Options

Managing chronic allergic rhinitis involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions:

Lifestyle Changes

Minimise exposure to allergens: Keep windows closed during high pollen seasons, use allergen-proof covers on pillows and mattresses, and maintain a clean home environment.

Regular cleaning: Vacuuming and dusting frequently can help reduce indoor allergens.

Medications

Antihistamines: These over-the-counter or prescription medications can help relieve sneezing, runny nose, and itchiness.

Nasal corticosteroids: These prescription nasal sprays reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.

Decongestants: Temporary relief from congestion can be achieved with decongestant nasal sprays or pills.

Immunotherapy

For those with severe or persistent symptoms, immunotherapy may be recommended. This therapy entails gradually exposing the individual to minimal doses of allergens over time, helping the immune system build tolerance and reduce allergic reactions.

Schedule a consultation/ with ENT Specialist Dr Dennis Chua to learn more about treatment options.

Complications and When to Seek Medical Help

If you suspect you have chronic allergic rhinitis, seeking a medical diagnosis is crucial. A healthcare professional will perform a thorough evaluation and may recommend allergy tests to identify specific allergens triggering your symptoms. Common tests include skin prick tests and blood tests to measure allergen-specific antibodies.

Book an appointment with ENT specialist Dr Dennis Chua to discuss your symptoms.

Prevention and Long-Term Management

Managing chronic allergic rhinitis is an ongoing process. To minimise the impact of this condition on your life:
  • Stay informed: Understand your triggers and avoid them whenever possible.
  • Adhere to treatment: Take medications as prescribed, and discuss any concerns or side effects with your healthcare provider.
  • Regular follow-ups: Schedule regular check-ups to monitor your condition and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Living with Chronic Allergic Rhinitis

Living with chronic allergic rhinitis can be challenging, but it’s essential to remember that you’re not alone. Seek support from friends, family, and support groups. Managing your condition effectively can significantly improve your quality of life and reduce its impact.

In conclusion, chronic allergic rhinitis is more than just persistent sneezing; it’s a long-term condition that can significantly affect daily life. By understanding its causes, seeking proper diagnosis and treatment, and making lifestyle adjustments, individuals can effectively manage their symptoms and lead a healthier, sneeze-free life.

If you suspect you have chronic allergic rhinitis, consult Dr Dennis Chua for the proper guidance and support.

If you have questions or concerns about your ears, nose, and throat,
you may book a consultation with Dr Dennis Chua, an ENT specialist in Singapore.
He has completed his training in otorhinolaryngology locally and attained qualifications internationally.