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Allergic rhinitis (AR) is the most common chronic disease in children, affecting up to 40%. However, the disease frequently is overlooked and undertreated because it often is mistaken for recurrent upper respiratory tract infections in children who cannot adequately communicate the impact of their symptoms. AR generally is not considered to be a life-threatening disease, yet it is one of the major reasons for visits to pediatricians.

In 1998, the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology defined rhinitis as “inflammation of the membrane lining the nose, characterized by nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, sneezing, itching of the nose and/or postnasal drainage.” AR is a hypersensitivity reaction to specific allergens occurring in sensitized patients that is mediated by immunoglobulin (Ig)E antibodies and results in inflammation. Traditionally, AR is classified as seasonal or perennial and as either mild, moderate, or...

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