What information should be obtained about the timing of symptoms in pediatric allergic rhinitis?

Updated: Jun 04, 2021
  • Author: Jack M Becker, MD; Chief Editor: Harumi Jyonouchi, MD  more...
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Identify whether symptoms are present or worsen during certain seasons, such as the spring or fall. In addition, try to identify whether symptoms are worse in specific places, such as home, work, school, or on vacation or when the patient is around animals.

Determine when symptoms occur and whether they occur primarily at night, in school, outdoors, or at a relative's or friend's home.

Determine whether symptoms occur only at a certain time of the year or throughout the year. Remember that symptoms in the fall and spring may still indicate a pet allergy.

Determine whether symptoms ever improve and, if so, what actions help alleviate symptoms. Most patients have tried over-the-counter antihistamine medication. If these medications help, AR should be suspected; however, a negative response does not eliminate the possibility of AR. Ask if the patient's symptoms improve when they are away from certain locations. For example, a child who has less symptoms at college or camp may have an allergy to the family pet, feather pillows, or dust mites in their bedding.

Determine whether symptoms improve when the patient is taking antibiotics. Most patients receive antibiotics for various reasons unrelated to nasal symptoms. If symptoms respond to antibiotic therapy, the clinical diagnosis may be sinusitis, which may have been either primary sinusitis or secondary sinusitis caused by allergic rhinitis.

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