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Allergic Rhinitis : Symptoms
Western Medicine Chinese Medicine

Seasonal allergic rhinitis
The seasonal type of allergic rhinitis is characterized by the following:

There are frequent sudden attacks of sneezing, with profuse watery nasal discharge and nasal obstruction.
The attacks last for a few hours and are often accompanied by smarting and watering of the eyes and conjunctivitis
In some patients, conjunctivitis may occur in the absence of nasal symptoms.
The condition does not cause fever.
Swelling of the nasal membranes may lead to headache because of obstruction of the sinuses that normally empty any discharge into the nasal cavity.

Seasonal rhinitis is mild in many persons who do not seek medical care, but it can be an exhausting illness for some because of continual sneezing, constant runny nose, and unremitting itching.

In the perennial variety the symptoms are similar but more continuous and generally less severe. Not surprisingly, persons with multiple clinical sensitivities often experience perennial rhinitis as well as one or more predictable seasonal flares.

Perennial allergic rhinitis
Perennial allergic rhinitis rarely is a source of dramatic symptoms. However, a persistent partially blocked nose can promote distressing complications, such as breathing through the mouth with resultant snoring and dry throat. Dark circles and puffiness often develop under the eyes. The swollen mucous membranes readily sustain bacterial infection, and obstruction of the nasal sinus openings is common; these lead to recurrent or chronic sinusitis. Drainage from sites of nasal infection promotes sore throat and can lead to bronchitis. In addition, especially in children, the Eustachian tubes, which open into the throat, are readily blocked by swollen mucous membranes, enlarged lymphoid tissue (eg, adenoids), or fluid. Without normal access to air, the middle ears develop negative pressure and fill with fluid, creating a chronic serious inflammation with at least temporary deafness and, often, recurrent middle ear infection.

Although allergic rhinitis sufferers tend to develop bronchial asthma with above-normal frequency, the extent of this increased risk remains unclear. In general, the risk of subsequent asthma appears to rise with increasing severity of rhinitis, with prominent chronic sinusitis and bronchial infection, and when asthma attacks have been experienced in the past.



Chinese practitioners will collect the information they need to make a diagnosis through the process of consultation, assessing systemic symptoms, and then determining the disharmony pattern that fits the individual. The following are the usual types of disharmony patterns for allergic rhinitis:

1. Deficiency of lung qi, invasion by wind and coldness evils

Individuals present with nasal itching, sneezing, congestion, and a watery discharge. Symptoms are usually triggered by being exposed to wind or a cold temperature in the morning. Systemic symptoms include pallor, shortness of breath, ease of sweating on exertion, and aversion to cold.

2. Lung and spleen deficiency, dampness accumulation in the nose

Individuals usually present with symptoms such as sneezing with watery discharge and moderately severe nasal obstruction. These can be accompanied by heaviness in the forehead or a pounding pain between the eyebrows. Other symptoms include a loss of sense of smell, fatigue, shortness of breath, aversion to cold, a heavy sensation in the limbs, abdominal fullness, a poor appetite, and diarrhea.

3. Depletion in kidney yang, lungs lose promoting and warmth support from the kidneys

Individuals suffer from nasal obstruction, sneezing with watery discharge, severe aversion to cold, and coldness in the limbs. The symptoms are usually triggered by a cold temperature. Other symptoms include dizziness, ringing in the ears, frequent nocturnal urination, impotence and premature ejaculation, and a hot sensation in the palms and soles of the feet.

4. Spleen deficiency, stagnation of phlegm evil

Individuals present with a more severe nasal obstruction, copious watery discharge, and discomfort from nasal itching. They may also experience heaviness in the head, weakness of the limbs, fullness and discomfort in the chest and gastric regions. They may produce copious white sticky sputum, and have a poor appetite, and diarrhea.

5. Invasion of wind and heat evils in the lungs
  Typical presentations of this type of disharmony pattern include frequent episodes of sneezing, nasal itching, and complete obstruction of the nasal orifices by a heavy discharge. When stimulated by foreign evils or heat evil, a copious watery discharge will develop. Periodic relapse and remission will occur. There will be general symptoms like fever, aversion to cold, headache, and sweating.