Viral infection of the upper and sometimes the lower respiratory tract. Symptoms, which are relatively mild, include sneezing, fatigue, sore throat, and stuffy or runny nose (but not fever); they usually last only a few days. About 200 different strains of virus can produce colds; they are spread by direct or indirect contact. The cold is the most common of all illnesses; the average person gets several every year. Incidence peaks in the fall. Treatment involves rest, adequate fluid intake, and over-the-counter remedies for the symptoms. Antibiotics do not combat the virus but may be given if secondary infections develop.
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There are two types of rhinitis that the general population may suffer from: allergic rhinitis and nonallergic rhinitis. Rhinitis is considered IgE-mediated when the sufferer is classified as having allergic rhinitis.
Some of the most common causes that may bring about the presence of rhinitis include:
For assessing the possibility of allergies, skin testing, when possible, is the preferred method in comparison with various in vitro tests because it is more sensitive and specific, simpler to use, and less expensive.
The typical method of diagnosis and monitoring of allergic rhinitis is skin testing, also known as "scratch testing" and "prick testing" due to the series of pricks and/or scratches made into the patient's skin. Small amounts of suspected allergens and/or their extracts (pollen, grass, mite proteins, peanut extract, etc.) are introduced to sites on the skin marked with pen or dye. The allergens are either injected intradermally or into small scratches made into the patient's skin, often with a small plastic device. Common areas for testing include the inside forearm and the back.
Testing can be either single antigen or multiple antigen testing. Both test the skin for effects of different substances.
The management of rhinitis is mainly medical. Treatment for seasonal rhinitis is only needed during the appropriate time of the year. Current treatments include: