(Consumer Reports) - It's that time of year again - sneezing, sniffling, watery eyes – allergy season is here.
What you are suffering from might not be seasonal allergies. (Consumer Reports)
But maybe you feel like your seasonal allergies continue through the summer, maybe fall too? As Consumer Reports explains, what you're suffering from might not be allergy symptoms at all.
A 2018 study found that 37 percent of people who visited their local pharmacy and purchased over the counter allergy medication, didn't have an allergy diagnosis from their doctor. So, what if they actually have something else going on?
"In some cases, symptoms like sneezing, stuffy noses are not actually caused by allergies. They're caused by something called non-allergic rhinitis," Consumer Reports health editor Catherine Roberts said.
Non-allergic rhinitis is triggered by non-seasonal things like food, alcohol, odors, smoke, perfume, pollution, medication and even quick changes in the weather or temperature. Its symptoms often look like those of allergies - congestion, runny nose and sneezing but without itchy eyes and sore throat.
"Outdoor allergies usually start in February or March and last until October or November," Roberts said.
So how do you know what's causing your sneezes?
"If you're not sure if you're experiencing an actual allergy or non-allergic rhinitis, head to the doc and get an allergy test. If the non-allergic rhinitis is the cause of your symptoms then an allergist can prescribe ways to help you find relief," Roberts explained.
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.