What information should be obtained about the duration 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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Determine whether symptoms last for weeks, months, or hours.

Most pollen seasons are at least 6 weeks long in more moderate climates. In the south and far north, the season can be longer or shorter, respectively. Symptoms that last less than 2 weeks rarely indicate AR, unless concomitant exposure occurs. For example, a child only allergic to one type of tree could have 2 weeks of exposure, but that is unusual.

In winter in the northern regions, virtually all outdoor pollens are absent; therefore, any AR–like symptoms are the result of indoor allergen exposure or are associated with nonallergic causes. Although patients are usually exposed to the same allergens throughout the year, AR symptoms triggered by indoor allergens can worsen in winter secondary to longer hours spent indoors during the cold months. This may also be associated with closed windows and doors in winter, resulting in increased recirculation of indoor allergens. An example of winter-only exposure is a person who is allergic to dust mites who uses a down comforter only during the winter (dust mites are highly infested in a down comforter.), also a patient with adenoidal hypertrophy may be worse in the winter due to lower ambient humidity leading to more nasal irritation.

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