The term rhinitis is used to describe a disease that involves inflammation of the nasal membranes. Symptoms are characterized by periods of watery nasal discharge, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Intense itching of eyes and sore throat may occur; nasal obstruction can interfere with sleep which in turn results in daytime drowsiness and fatigue, leading to poor performance at work or school. For children, allergic rhinitis often may contribute to behavioral issues such as inattentiveness in the classroom and increased symptoms of existing ADHD.
A term often used in allergy is the “atopic march” starting early in life in a child at risk for allergies. This may begin as atopic dermatitis (rash) in association with food allergies (such as cow’s milk, egg, cereals) followed in time with allergic rhinitis secondary to environmental allergies and eventually asthma, if left untreated.