Allergic Rhinitis Quiz

Millions of people worldwide suffer from an allergic condition commonly referred to as hay fever. Symptoms can be seasonal or year-round and make you miserable. These annoying symptoms interfere with the quality of life, and have been proven to affect performance at work or school. Test your knowledge and gain valuable insights into controlling allergic rhinitis.

Question 1
Hay fever and allergic rhinitis are the same condition.
True
False

True. Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for hay fever. Symptoms involve the nose, throat, eyes, ears, skin or roof of the mouth. This condition is called seasonal allergic rhinitis when symptoms happen during certain seasons of the year (typically spring and fall). When symptoms are year-round, the medical term for hay fever is perennial allergic rhinitis, or it is sometimes referred to as indoor allergies.

Question 2
Which of the following is not a trigger for hay fever symptoms:
Tree pollen
Ragweed
Hay
Certain types of grass
They all are hay fever allergens

Hay. Hay fever symptoms are not typically triggered by hay, nor does hay fever cause a fever. So the term "allergic rhinitis" is a much better description.

Question 3
If you suffer often from a runny nose or nasal congestion, chances are you have allergic rhinitis.
True
False

False. At least one out of three people with nasal symptoms do not have allergies. Viruses such as a cold, bacterial infections, or irritants such as smoke, strong odors, cleaning solutions can lead to nasal symptoms, but these are not allergic responses.

If you have an allergy, your immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance as an invader. This substance is called an allergen. The immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.

Question 4
Sometimes allergens trigger symptoms in the eyes. This is called allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergy). Is it true that mold spores can trigger eye allergy symptoms?
True
False

True. The most common causes of allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergy) are seasonal allergens such as pollen and mold spores. Indoor allergens such as dust mites and pet dander can cause eye allergies year-round.

Typical eye allergy symptoms include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Itchiness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness
  • Grittiness
  • Eyelid swelling

These symptoms can occur alone or with nasal symptoms.

Question 5
What is the best way to determine if you have an allergy?
Track when your symptoms occur
Make an appointment for a physical and medical history
When warranted, have a qualified physician perform allergy testing
All of the above

All of the above. A doctor should perform a physical exam and ask questions about when and where your symptoms occur, and consider your family's medical history. If allergies are suspected, allergy testing by an expert such as an allergist / immunologist can determine which, if any, allergens are responsible for triggering your symptoms.

Question 6
What is the best strategy for managing allergic rhinitis?
Avoidance
Antihistamines or nasal corticosteroid sprays
Immunotherapy (allergy shots)
It depends on the individual

It depends. Avoidance is the best way to prevent allergy symptoms from occurring, but avoiding allergens such as pollen or pet dander isn't always feasible.

Antihistamines often help for short-term relief of symptoms. While over the counter medications might ease mild symptoms, newer classes of antihistamines prescribed by a physician tend to have fewer side effects.

In some studies, nasal corticosteroid sprays are more effective than the other medications to temporarily treat symptoms. This medication is different from the "steroids" connected with those misused in sports. Corticosteroids have been proven safe and effective for use in allergic rhinitis.

Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a long-term treatment approach that decreases symptoms for many people with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, conjunctivitis (eye allergy) or stinging insect allergy. Allergy shots often lead to lasting relief of allergy symptoms even after treatment is stopped.

You and your allergist / immunologist can determine which treatment approach is right for you.

Question 7
Most medications for seasonal allergic rhinitis work best when taken after symptoms occur.
True
False

False. It is best to start taking allergy medications before pollen and other spring or fall allergens are in the air. Taking medications early can prevent or lessen symptoms.

Question 8
Both children and adults can receive immunotherapy (allergy shots).
True
False

True: Both children and adults can receive allergy shots, although it is not typically recommended for children under age five. When considering allergy shots for an older adult, medical conditions such as cardiac disease should be taken into consideration.

Question 9
Moving to a different part of the country may seem drastic, but it often helps ease seasonal symptoms.
True
False

False. It's hard to escape allergy triggers. Many forms of pollen (especially grasses) and mold spores are common to most plant zones in the United States, so moving to avoid allergy triggers is not recommended. Also, your immune system may find new allergens to react to in new environments.

Question 10
Humidifiers are very helpful for people with indoor allergies.
True
False
It depends

It depends. Moisture from a humidifier can soothe dry sinus passages. However, dust and mold from the humidifier may do more harm than good. It is important to clean and change the filter in the humidifier on a regular basis so mold does not grow in the unit and blow into the home. If possible, use distilled or de-mineralized water in the humidifier. This is because the higher level of minerals in tap water can increase bacteria growth, resulting in a white dust and additional irritation.

Question 11
Monitoring pollen levels can help manage seasonal allergic rhinitis.
True
False

True. Tracking pollen and mold levels in your region can help determine when to avoid being outdoors during peak pollen times. The National Allergy BureauTM (NAB) provides the most accurate and reliable pollen and mold levels. The AAAAI also offers a mobile pollen app. Visit pollen.aaaai.org from your iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry or Android and add this app to your home screen.

You answered   questions correctly.

 

Learn more about allergic rhinitis symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology