Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever

Although the name may be a misnomer since this rarely produces a fever and hay has nothing to do with it, hay fever affects millions of people. Most people are allergic to pollens, and that is why the symptoms are seasonal.

The most common offenders are trees, grasses, and ragweed. The timing of the symptoms is variable due to where you live. Other common offenders are weeds, dust mites, and mold spores.

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis can make us very uncomfortable. Nasal congestion is usually the most troubling of the symptoms— it can affect our speech and give us a dry mouth. Other symptoms include a runny nose, and swelling and inflammation of the mucus membranes.

This inflammation causes sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy and scratchy throat, and loss of smell and taste, all of which can make life miserable for a hay fever sufferer. Most people also get a clear mucus drainage that leads them to blow their nose all day and to get a red nose from the irritation.

Allergic rhinitis symptoms also include the following characteristics:

  • intermittent symptoms that are either seasonal, food-related, environmental, or emotionally triggered
  • symptoms are relieved with antihistamines, food elimination, environmental elimination, or stress reduction techniques
  • symptoms are persistent or perennial
  • postnasal drip, sore throat, cough, hoarseness, wheezing or difficulty breathing, and/or skin rash
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • symptoms are usually preceded by a personal or family history of allergies, eczema, or asthma