Allergic rhinitis, often called allergies or hay fever, occurs when your immune system overreacts to particles in the air that you breathe-you are allergic to them. Your immune system attacks the particles in your body, causing symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. The particles are called allergens, which simply means they can cause an allergic reaction.
People with allergies usually have symptoms for many years. You may have symptoms often during the year, or just at certain times. You also may get other problems such as sinusitis and ear infections as a result of your allergies.
Over time, allergens may begin to affect you less, and your symptoms may not be as severe as they had been.
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
In most cases, when you have allergic rhinitis:
There is no cure for allergic rhinitis. One of the best things you can do is to avoid the things that cause your allergies. You may need to clean your house often to get rid of dust, animal dander, or molds. Or you may need to stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
Unless you have another health problem, such as asthma, you may take over-the-counter medicines to treat your symptoms at home. If you do have another problem, talk to your doctor first. Others who also should talk to their doctor before starting self-treatment include older adults, children, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If your allergies bother you a lot and you cannot avoid the things you are allergic to, immunotherapy (such as allergy shots) may help prevent or reduce your symptoms. To have this treatment, you first need to know what you are allergic to.