While the name sounds complicated, allergic rhinitis is actually just the formal name for hay fever.

Allergic Rhinitis Triggers  

Allergic rhinitis symptoms occur when your body comes into contact with allergens such as pollen, dust, and mold, which can cause sneezing and congestion. Some people with allergic rhinitis also experience headaches, sinus pain, severe tiredness, insomnia, and asthma symptoms.

Allergic rhinitis may flare during certain seasons, or it may become bothersome all year long. The timing will vary depending on the cause.

  • If you have seasonal allergic rhinitis, your symptoms are probably triggered by allergens such as ragweed (one of the biggest allergic rhinitis causes), as well as tree and grass pollen. These allergens are particularly prevalent in the spring, summer, and early fall.
  • If you have perennial allergic rhinitis, this means you're allergic to indoor triggers that you might come into contact with throughout the entire year. This can include dust, mold, animals, and cockroaches.

Many people who are sensitive to seasonal factors can also be allergic to indoor triggers. In fact, it's quite possible and even common to suffer from both types of allergic rhinitis. If this is the case, you'll have symptoms on an ongoing basis, but will find that they can intensify during certain seasons.

Control Your Environment

You can't cure allergic rhinitis, but you can minimize the reaction by avoiding contact with indoor and outdoor triggers.

For seasonal allergic rhinitis:

  • Follow the pollen count through your local newspaper or radio station or through the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (AAAAI) website at http://www.aaaai.com.
  • Stay indoors in the mornings, on windy days, and anytime pollen is out in full force.
  • Keep your windows closed and run your air conditioner to help filter pollen from the air.
  • Shower after spending time outside to remove any pollen trapped in your hair, and also wash your clothes in very hot water.

For perennial allergic rhinitis:

  • Use hypoallergenic dust covers on your mattress and pillows.
  • Wash your bedding in very hot water every week or even more frequently.
  • Keep animals out of your bedroom.
  • Remove carpeting, curtains, books, stuffed animals, and other dust and mold catchers from areas you frequent.
  • Fix any leaky pipes or damp areas that can breed mold.

Medicate Your Symptoms

For both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis symptoms, you'll need to take allergy medications if your discomfort seems to interfere with daily living. Talk to your doctor or allergist for suggestions. Many patients find that a combination of treatments such as nasal washes, antihistamines, and nasal corticosteroid sprays can provide relief. You can also consider getting allergy shots if your allergies are severe. Allergy shots can desensitize your body's reaction to the allergen and minimize your reaction to triggers.


American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI)

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