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Home > Events & Health Information > Diseases & Conditions > Allergies > Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

About The Condition   Causes   Signs And Symptoms
Diagnosis And Treatment Options   Tips


What Is Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, which is caused by an allergen, refers to nose and eye problems that occur at least once a week. When only the nose is affected, it is called allergic rhinitis. It is also known as hay fever, “sinus” or “sensitive nose”. When only the eyes are affected, it is called allergic conjunctivitis.


Allergy, particularly in children, is increasing around the world especially in developed countries. The prevalence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in Singaporean children up to 2 years old is estimated to be as high as 42%1.


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Causes of Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

Most allergies are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This means that there is often a family member with asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis or eczema.


House dust mite allergens are the most common triggers for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in Singapore. House dust mites are microscopic creatures that reside in homes. Other triggers include pollen, which is most common in temperate climate, and animal dander (a combination of dead skin cells and hair or feathers). Food is rarely a trigger for isolated allergic rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms.


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Signs And Symptoms Of Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

Children with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis are prone to:

  • Sneezing
  • Itching of the nose
  • Running or congestion of the nose
  • Swelling or itching of the eyes


These symptoms tend to occur weekly in the morning and evening but can last the whole day.


When the nose problems are significant, some of these children develop prolonged cough as well. Many parents are worried that prolonged cough will develop into asthma. This is untrue. A child with asthma can indeed have a prolonged cough but prolonged cough does not cause asthma to develop later on. Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma can and often do co-exist so it is not surprising that someone with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis may be diagnosed with asthma.


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Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

We provide comprehensive testing for children with allergies. This includes skin prick testing for outdoor allergens such as house dust mites, food and drugs. Blood tests can also be done.


Like most allergies, treatment will consist of allergen avoidance and the use of medications.


Antihistamines are safe and effective even in very young children.


Topical steroids such as nasal sprays are also safe options. As they require a longer time to work, they need to be used regularly over days to weeks to reap the benefits. They are particularly helpful in reducing nasal blockage or congestion.


Please consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis before administering medication.


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Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis

If your child is allergic to house dust mite allergens, wash your beddings (bed sheets, pillowcases and covers) in hot water that is 60°C weekly or fortnightly. Minimise the use of carpets, soft toys or thick curtains. The house should be kept dust-free by damp cleaning. Vacuum only when your child is not at home and let the air settle for about 2 hours before allowing him or her to enter the room. Mite-proof mattresses and pillow covers may be helpful but are expensive.


If your child is allergic to pet allergens, avoidance of the animal is recommended. However, it is advisable to have a proper allergy test and consultation with your doctor before doing so. If avoidance of the pet is not possible, reduce exposure by preventing it from entering your child’s bedroom.


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Our Team

We have a team of paediatricians and paediatric nurses specialising in allergy and immunology. We are dedicated to delivering comprehensive and accurate diagnosis and management for all allergic conditions and immune deficiencies in children.


Click here to find out more about our Paediatric Allergy and Immunology team.


Source: 1PubMed


The information provided on this page is meant purely for educational purposes and may not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider before starting any treatment or if you have any questions related to your child’s health, physical fitness or medical conditions.