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Keywords:

  • allergic rhinitis;
  • child;
  • rhinitis, diagnosis;
  • rhinitis, therapy

Allergic rhinitis affects up to 40% of children but is commonly undiagnosed. Careful assessment of nasal symptoms allows for the most appropriate therapeutic options to be chosen. Allergen avoidance is often difficult in practice. Antihistamines are of limited benefit in allergic rhinitis caused by house dust mite and other perennial allergens, where symptoms, predominantly nasal obstruction, are not histamine mediated. In contrast, symptoms triggered by pollen, such as nasal itch, rhinorrhoea and sneezing, are relieved by antihistamines. Intranasal steroids are the treatment of choice for persistent moderate–severe allergic rhinitis and are more effective than antihistamines for relief of nasal obstruction. Failure to respond to intranasal medications is often caused by poor compliance or inefficient use of nasal sprays. Immunotherapy may be a useful, if expensive, option, particularly where symptoms are because of a specific pollen. The benefits of immunotherapy in house dust mite-induced rhinitis and asthma remain controversial.