n South African Medical Journal - Allergic rhinitis in South Africa : 2012 guidelines : guidelines




Allergic rhinitis (AR) is an important disease in South Africa. The South African Allergic Rhinitis Working Group (SAARWG) has published previous guidelines for AR diagnosis and management. Areas of concern have arisen that require additional information, including the management of AR in infancy, appropriate and inappropriate allergy testing, cost of AR management, diagnosis and distinguishing the condition from sinusitis, use of over-the-counter medications, and the concept of the 'united airway'.

Clinicians should consider the possibility of AR in infants with recurrent nasal symptoms. Allergy testing should be used wisely and based on local allergens. Total IgE testing is not routinely required to prove allergy. Acute and chronic sinusitis should be considered in conjunction with AR; treatment of rhinitis will improve these conditions. Over-the-counter medications should be used sparingly and with caution. Concern for long-term use of topical decongestants must be noted. Asthma should always be considered in AR diagnosis. Immunotherapy is available in SA and may be extremely useful in selected AR patients.
The SAARWG proposed an algorithm for the diagnosis and management of rhinitis in South Africa. AR is common, important and troubling to patients; therefore, every effort should be made to target therapy correctly. Patient education is important in the management of AR.


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