It's easy to dismiss hay fever as a minor nuisance. But call it by its proper name, allergic rhinitis, and you'll be on the way to recognizing it as a legitimate medical problem. Fortunately, it's a problem that responds very well to treatment, reports the May 2009 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch.
Allergic rhinitis can be a pain. Its symptoms may include a stuffy, runny nose, sneezing and coughing, an itchy or sore throat, and itchy, burning, watery eyes. Seasonal allergic rhinitis comes and goes as various plants come into bloom. If your symptoms occur in the spring, you are probably allergic to tree pollen; in the summer, grass and weed pollens; in the late summer and fall, ragweed. Year-round symptoms usually indicate an allergy to dust mites, mold, animal dander, or other indoor allergens.
There are three strategies for keeping allergic rhinitis in check: avoiding triggers; easing symptoms with medications such as antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays, nasal steroid sprays, leukotriene blockers, and decongestants; and getting immunotherapy (allergy shots).
To continue reading this article, you must login
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.