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What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis (also called "hay fever") happens when you breathe in something you are allergic to and the inside of your nose becomes swollen. Allergic rhinitis affects 40 million people in the United States.


What are the signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

Signs of allergic rhinitis are similar to signs of a common cold. But, unlike common cold symptoms, allergic rhinitis can last for more than 8-10 days and may include:

. A stuffy nose or a runny nose.

. Sneezing.

. Itchy nose, itchy eyes or watery eyes.

. Children and adults who have allergic rhinitis might have dark circles under their eyes, or use the palm of their hand to push their nose up as they try to stop the itching ( called the "allergic salute").

. Coughing caused by clear mucus running down the back of your throat.

What causes my allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis is caused by things that trigger allergies called allergens. These can be found both outdoors and indoors. When allergic rhinitis is caused by common outdoor allergens-such as mold or trees, grass and weed pollens-it is often referred to as seasonal allergies, or "hay fever".

Allergic rhinitis may also be triggered by allergens that are in your house, such as animal dander ( tiny skin flakes and saliva ), indoor mold, the droppings of cockroaches or house dust mites-tiny creatures found in the home.

. If you have symptoms in spring, you are probably allergic to tree pollens.

. If you have symptoms in the summer, you are probably allergic to grass and weed pollens.

. If you have symptoms in late summer and fall, you probably are allergic to ragweed.

. Dust mites, molds and animal dander ( saliva or skin flakes ) cause symptoms all year.

An allergist/immunologist can perform skin tests to decide for sure which allergens cause your symptoms. 


American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology