Allergic Rhinitis/Hay Fever

What is allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, often called allergies or hay fever, occurs when a person's immune system overreacts to certain particles in the air, leading to a range of symptoms.

It is among the most common chronic conditions worldwide, affecting up to 12 percent of children in the United States.

It is important to treat allergy symptoms effectively because, left untreated, they can lead to complications such as:

  • Aggravation of asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infections
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Poor concentration
  • Learning impairments

What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

Symptoms start after breathing in an allergen. The symptoms can last a few days or longer depending on exposure to the allergen. Symptoms can vary in severity and speed of onset.

Symptoms include sneezing, nasal itching, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea (runny nose), mouth breathing, post-nasal discharge and associated eye/conjunctival symptoms. These symptoms often interfere with breathing and other normal tasks.

What causes allergic rhinitis?

Various types of allergens can cause allergic rhinitis and a patient may be allergic to one or several of them. Some of the more common allergens for allergic rhinitis are mold, dust mites, animal dander and cockroaches. Irritation in the nose or lungs can compound any allergic reaction.

How is allergic rhitinis treated?

Pediatric specialists in our Pediatric Allergy Program can help with a diagnosis and determination of environmental triggers, provide recommendations on avoiding triggers, and prescribe medications to help your child feel better and have fewer complications.