Allergic rhinitis


Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a condition that causes cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure. However, it is not caused by a virus like the common cold. The condition is triggered by an allergic reaction to a harmless substance in the environment that the body identifies as harmful or an allergen.

Common allergens that can trigger hay fever include pollen, dust mites and pet dander from animals with fur or feathers. The allergic reaction to these allergens causes the body to release a natural chemical called histamine. This can result in various symptoms, including nasal irritation, sneezing, congestion, and eye irritation.

Hay fever can affect a person’s daily life, making it difficult to concentrate on work or school. However, there are ways to manage the condition. Avoiding triggers that cause the allergic reaction is one way to minimize symptoms. There are also various treatment options available, including over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs, that can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.


Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Throat or nose itchiness
  • Aches in the sinuses
  • Red eyes that is itchy and watery
  • Postnasal drip, or mucus that drips from the back of your throat
  • Extreme exhaustion, frequently brought on by a lack of sleep
  • Skin around the eyes that appears swollen and bruised (allergic shiners)

Allergic rhinitis triggers

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be persistent or seasonal, with onset or exacerbation occurring during a particular time of the year.

Triggers of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Tree pollen, a prevalent early spring allergen
  • Grass pollen, which is prevalent in the summer and late spring.
  • Ragweed pollen, which is widespread in the fall.
  • Dust mites and cockroach droppings, which are present year-round
  • Year-round pests including cockroach droppings and dust mites
  • Pet dander, which is annoying all year round but may have worse symptoms in the winter when dwellings are closed up.
  • Indoor and outdoor fungal and mold spores, both of which have seasonal and year-round variations.

Allergic rhinitis vs common cold

It can be challenging to identify which one you have because the symptoms can be identical.

  • Allergic rhinitis. Manifests watery nasal discharges but no fever. Symptoms show right away upon allergen exposure and lasts only as long as the allergen is present.
  • Common cold. Displays yellowish and thick nasal discharges paired with low-grade fever and body pain. Symptoms begins 1 to 3 days post virus exposure and lasts up to 3 to 7 days.

Consult a doctor if:

  • You are unable to obtain relief from the symptoms of hay fever.
  • Allergy treatments don’t relieve symptoms or have bothersome side effects.
  • You suffer from a condition like nasal polyps, asthma, or recurrent sinus infections that can make the symptoms of hay fever worse.

A lot of individuals, particularly kids, become accustomed to the symptoms of hay fever, leading them to delay seeking treatment until the symptoms become severe. Nonetheless, obtaining the proper medical attention could offer relief.


Hay fever occurs when the immune system produces antibodies, such as IgE, in response to harmless airborne substances, known as allergens. When the body is exposed to the same allergen again, the immune system releases chemicals, such as histamine, which can cause inflammation and itching in the nose, eyes, and throat. Allergens that can trigger hay fever include dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and cockroach saliva and waste. Additionally, food allergies can also cause inflammation in the nose and throat, which can be life-threatening in some cases.

Risk factors

Your risk of getting allergic rhinitis can be increased by the following factors:

  • Having an allergic or asthmatic blood related, such as a parent or sibling
  • Having an atopic dermatitis or eczema condition, which causes itchy, inflamed skin.
  • Exposure to smoke and potent scents that irritate the nose’s lining.
  • Your mother smoking during the first year of your life.
  • Residing or working in an environment where allergens, such as dust mites or animal dander, are present all the time.
  • Having asthma or allergies of other sorts