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Risk Factors for Allergic Rhinitis

A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop allergic rhinitis with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing allergic rhinitis. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Genetic Factors

The primary risk factor for developing allergic rhinitis is genetic history. If both of your parents have allergic rhinitis, you have a 75% chance of developing it. If only one parent has allergic rhinitis, your risk is decreased to 50%.

Medical Conditions

Your risk of developing allergic rhinitis is increased if you have other allergies. The most common allergies or allergic conditions associated with allergic rhinitis include:

Age

Although allergic rhinitis often first appears in childhood, it may appear at any age. In general, if the condition occurs in early childhood, it may not recur in adulthood. However, if the initial onset is at age 20 years or older, allergic rhinitis may continue through middle age.

Environment

Some studies indicate that people in "Westernized" countries may be at a higher risk for developing allergic rhinitis; possibly due to more highly sanitized living conditions and reduced exposure to diverse allergens.

Other

Allergic rhinitis may be more prevalent in people who are exposed to the following allergens during work:
  • Seed dust
  • Wood dust
  • Animal dander
  • Textile dust
  • Chemicals
  • Rubber latex
  • Certain foods and spices
  • Storage mites
  • Odors and fumes (such as smoking, air pollution)

References

Advice from your allergist: rhinitis. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.acaai.org/public/advice/rhin.htm. Accessed September 15, 2008.

Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated September 2008. Accessed September 15, 2008.

What is hay fever? American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org/site/c.dvLUK9O0E/b.4061173/apps/s/content.asp?ct=3052305. Accessed September 15, 2008.

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