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An update on the management of hay fever in adults

Abstract

Allergic rhinitis is a common disorder occurring in about one in four people in Britain with a peak onset during adolescence.13 Although not necessarily a serious illness, it can adversely affect quality of life and disrupt normal activities, and is a risk factor for asthma.2,3 The symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis/rhino-conjunctivitis caused by an IgE-mediated type 1 hypersensitivity reaction to airborne allergens, particularly pollens, and which typically occur between spring and autumn are commonly referred to as hay fever.3 There are a number of management options available including drug therapy. Several drugs can be bought over the counter in the UK, and so people with allergic rhinitis may commonly present to the pharmacy or to general practice. The choice of treatment will be influenced by the spectrum, intensity and frequency of symptoms, and should take into account safety, efficacy, cost and patient preferences. Some of the treatments now available have been developed since our previous review was published and include the newer antihistamines, oral leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRA),i and sublingual allergen desensitisation immunotherapy.4

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