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Prim Care Respir J. 2007 Oct;16(5):299-303.

Concerns of patients with allergic rhinitis: the Allergic Rhinitis Care Programme in South Africa.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, University of Pretoria, South Africa.



The major reason for treating chronic rhinitis is to improve quality of life. Although primary symptoms cause morbidity in their own right, these symptoms are significantly aggravated by the impact of cognitive dysfunction and quality of life.


The Allergic Rhinitis Care Programme was initiated by the South African Allergic Rhinitis Working Group. An important task of this programme was to document health-related quality of life impairment amongst allergic rhinitis patients in South Africa.


A questionnaire, appropriate to South Africa, was distributed to patients. The questionnaire inquired about symptoms, quality of life, complications, trigger factors, associated allergic conditions, medication preference, medication adherence and concerns about the condition.


1181 people completed the questionnaire and returned the survey. Nasal congestion was identified as a common and frequent problem, while seasonality of symptoms was uncommon. Symptoms affected sleep in 76.6% of sufferers, and in at least a third this was every night. Over 1000 respondents felt miserable due to allergic rhinitis (85.2%). 63.1% indicated that they always followed instructions for taking rhinitis medication. A variety of perceived concerns around having and being treated for allergic rhinitis were identified, suggesting multiple reasons for non-adherence.


We report symptom frequency and quality of life impairment for respondents who identify themselves as having allergic rhinitis. Since allergic rhinitis is, in the main, a doctor-diagnosed condition, this would suggest a significant problem with inappropriate, insufficient or incorrect therapy.

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