Sneezing and sniffling may not mean allergies: Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — It’s that time of year for sneezing, sniffling and watery eyes. Allergy season is here! But maybe you feel like your seasonal allergies continue through the summer and fall too.

Consumer Reports says what you’re suffering from might not be caused by an allergy at all.

A 2018 study found that 37 percent of people who went to their local pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter allergy medication didn’t have an allergy diagnosis from their doctor. So what if something else is going on?

In some cases, symptoms like sneezing and a stuffy nose are caused by something called nonallergic rhinitis.

It’s triggered by nonseasonal things like food, alcohol, odors, smoke, perfume, pollution, medication, and even quick changes in the weather or temperature.

Symptoms often resemble those associated with allergies, like congestion, a runny nose, and sneezing, but without itchy eyes and a sore throat.

So how do you know what’s causing your symptoms? If you’re not sure if it’s an allergy or nonallergic rhinitis, head to a doctor for an allergy test. If nonallergic rhinitis is the culprit, an allergist can suggest ways to help you find relief.

You could try a saline rinse using a neti pot or bulb syringe. If you have persistent symptoms, consider asking your doctor for a prescription spray that contains the antihistamine azelastine, or steroids.

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