Hay Fever
Allergy

Hay fever, also known as rhinitis, is a type of allergy  that affects approximately 20 percent of Americans. An allergic reaction occurs when the body mistakenly attacks allergens, and the immune system springs into action. Allergens are harmless compounds such as pollens, dust, molds and animal dander, but the body identifies them as foreign and therefore harmful, and launches a full attack on them.

The body forms antibodies, which signal the immune system to release chemicals such as histamine to attack the allergens. Excessive histamines in the body cause irritations like sneezing, coughing, runny nose and other allergy symptoms. Antihistamines, over-the-counter and prescription drugs are commonly used to treat hay fever. Allergies are not contagious. 

Common symptoms:  

Irritated eyes 

Runny or stuffy nose 

Sneezing 

Coughing

Allergic shiners

Common triggers:  

Indoor allergens: 

Household dust 

Mold 

Pet dander

Outdoor allergens: 

Pollen 

Grasses 

Ragweed

Pollution

Treatment options:
When possible, avoid triggers. Over-the-counter medications may be helpful for controlling mild to moderate symptoms. For more severe symptoms, see a physician for possible prescription options.