An Overview of Allergic Rhinitis- Marlene Hochstrasser, Independent Allergy Nurse RN, Dip Allergy.

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Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse RN, Dip Allergy.

Marlene Hochstrasser is the Clinical Director of the Devon Allergy Clinic which was established in 2006. She qualified as a Registered General Nurse & Midwife & has a University Diploma in Allergy from Grenwich University with working links with Allergy UK & the Eczema Society. Her experience was further broadened whilst working as an Intensive Care Nurse at Guy’s Hospital, London. Marlene still maintains her clinical nursing expertise working as an intravenous parenteral nutrition nurse with patients in a home situation.

The Devon Allergy Clinic


Allergic Rhinitis


Allergic rhinitis occurs when someone reacts to an allergen, most often, this is breathed in. Sometimes it is food induced or, occasionally, both. The most common allergens giving allergic rhinitis are house dust mite, pollen, mould and animal dander. Allergic rhinitis is common and affects one in five people. Symptoms include a watery, runny or blocked nose, sneezing, coughing, post nasal drip and itchy running eyes. Allergic rhinitis typically begins in the teenage years and continues into early adulthood. Some people see an improvement in their symptoms as they get older. Allergic rhinitis can run in families and is more common in people with asthma, eczema or food allergies.


A bit more information…


Hay fever is a common term used to describe allergic rhinitis to inhaled pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. Pollen is a fine powder produced by trees and plants so that they can fertilise other plants. There are 3 distinct seasons, early March to May tree pollen. Grass pollen allergy is the most common cause of hay fever and symptoms are worse in May until July when grass pollen levels are highest. Late season August to October can involve weeds, seeds and moulds. Symptoms which affect the individual all year but get worse in the pollen seasons and sufferers can often have multiple allergies. It is important, therefore, to diagnose and treat all potential allergens to relieve symptoms.


Problems it may cause


To the non-sufferer Allergic Rhinitis may seem inconsequential. However, studies have shown that the bothersome nature of allergic rhinitis symptoms (rhinorrhea, nasal congestion and sneezing) impairs the usual performance of daily activities, quality of sleep, cognitive function, work productivity, examination performance  and also has an impact on psychosocial well-being on account  of its increasing prevalence and impact on quality of life (QoL), Allergic Rhinitis is associated with a heavy cost in medical care for both individuals and the society as a whole . Fewer than half (45%) of patients seek medical advice or treatment for their condition; in contrast, most individuals with allergic rhinitis self-medicate using over-the-counter products with antihistamine therapy.


What you can do to help


Symptomatic relief and improved quality of life can be achieved in the majority of patients by using pharmacotherapy appropriately. Mild cases can be managed with either an oral antihistamine or a nasal corticosteroid alone. More severe cases may require a nasal corticosteroid in combination with various agents. Immunotherapy is reserved for a selected group of patients. While all other interventions provide symptomatic relief, specific immunotherapy may have its advantages.  To treat underlying allergic disease, allergen immunotherapy is widely used in Europe but has yet to gain general acceptance in the United Kingdom.

To find out more about the Devon Allergy Clinic, get in touch with Marlene Hochstrasser.

Tel: 07810 750940 / 01803 401001 [email protected]



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