What to Do When Allergic Rhinitis Is in Bloom

Spring brings some of nature's most irritating allergies into the air, while other allergies occur year-round.

Many of us welcome warm weather as a chance to get outdoors after a winter's confinement. But for people with hay fever, spring is the beginning of allergy season, and outside can be the worst place to be. Technically known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, hay fever is an immune response provoked by airborne substances, mostly plant pollens and mold spores. The symptoms — sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, stuffy sinuses, and tickling throats — aren't life-threatening, but they can make you miserable. Hay fever can also cause drowsiness, lost work time, and difficulty concentrating.

Allergic rhinitis isn't just a seasonal problem. Perennial allergic rhinitis, which is triggered by common household substances such as dust mites, animal dander, insect droppings, and indoor mold, can be a year-round annoyance. Neither type of allergic rhinitis can be cured. But better understanding of allergic reactions has led to more effective ways of preventing and treating them.

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