An allergen is an otherwise harmless substance that causes an allergic reaction. Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an allergic response to specific allergens. Pollen is the most common allergen in seasonal allergic rhinitis. These are allergy symptoms that occur with the change of seasons.
Nearly 8 percent of adults in the United States experience allergic rhinitis of some kind, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). Between 10 and 30 percent of the worldwide population may also have allergic rhinitis.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis
Common symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
a runny nose
a stuffy nose
an itchy nose
a sore or scratchy throat
dark circles under the eyes
eczema-type symptoms, such as having extremely dry, itchy skin that can blister and weep
What causes allergic rhinitis?
In addition to tree pollen, other common allergens include:
animal dander, which is old skin
During certain times of the year, pollen can be especially problematic. Tree and flower pollens are more common in the spring. Grasses and weeds produce more pollen in the summer and fall.
Risk factors for allergic rhinitis
Allergies can affect anyone, but you’re more likely to develop allergic rhinitis if there is a history of allergies in your family. Having asthma or atopic eczema can also increase your risk of allergic rhinitis.
Some external factors can trigger or worsen this condition, including:
Alternative and complementary medicine
Acupuncture for Allergic Rhinitis
L120, EX-HN3, EX-HN8, BL13, DU23, LU5, LU7, L14
Nasal saline irrigation
Medically reviewed by Judith Marcin, MD on June 20, 2017 — Written by Kristeen Moore