Allergies and Allergic Reactions are Common
Despite how you may feel, you're not the only one suffering from the runny or stuffy nose and dry, red eyes of nasal allergies. An estimated 20% of the US population has allergic rhinitis, and the number is rising [Source: Sheikh]. Allergic rhinitis is responsible for over 16 million visits to the doctor each year, and a total of 2 million school days are missed each year due to nasal allergy symptoms in children [Source: AAAAI]. Allergies are one of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States.
The Effects of Allergies
The bothersome symptoms of nasal allergies can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. They can interfere with your ability to do such everyday activities as cleaning house, going to work or school, visiting friends, and participating in sports or other recreational activities. Nasal allergies can interrupt your sleep, leaving you tired and unable to concentrate and causing a poor performance on the job or at school. In fact, some studies show that 8 out of every 10 people with nasal allergies have sleep problems. Even though nasal allergy symptoms can be quite bothersome, many people who have them think they're normal. They don't recognize the symptoms because:
- symptoms tend to develop slowly over time
- symptoms are present most of the time or chronic, so they seem to be normal
- other people in the family have the same symptoms
- Sheikh, Javed. Allergic Rhinitis. http://www.emedicine.com/MED/topic104.htm. Accessed May 24, 2008.
- Allergy Statistics. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.http://www.aaaai.org/media/resources/media_kit/allergy_statistics.stm. Accessed May 24, 2008.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Written by Karen Serrano, MD Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD
Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine
Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University
Board certified in Allergy and Immunology
Last updated June 2008