Allergy

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)

Allergic rhinitis ("hay fever") is the most common of the allergic diseases and refers to nasal and ocular symptoms that are due to aeroallergens. Year-round or perennial allergic rhinitis is usually caused by indoor allergens, such as dust mites, animal dander, or molds. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is typically caused by tree, grass, or weed pollens. Many individuals have a combination of both seasonal and perennial allergies. Symptoms result from the inflammation of the tissues that line the inside of the nose after exposure to allergens. Adjacent areas, such as the eyes, ears, sinuses, and throat can also be involved. The most common symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, eyes, ears, and throat
  • Post nasal drip (throat clearing)

In 1819, an English physician, John Bostock, first described hay fever by detailing his own seasonal nasal symptoms, which he called "summer catarrh." The condition was called hay fever because it was thought to be caused by "new hay."

Reviewed on 11/26/2013