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Health Information For Parents
May also be called: Hay Fever; Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis; Seasonal Allergies
Allergic rhinitis (often called “hay fever” or seasonal allergies) are allergy symptoms that occur during certain times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores or trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.
Allergic rhinitis causes symptoms such as sneezing, stuffiness, runny nose, and postnasal drip. Because it’s commonly called “hay fever,” you might think it’s only related to outdoor or seasonal allergies, but many indoor allergens also cause it.
Allergies to pollen, dust, mold, and many other allergens (substances that cause allergic reactions) often begin in early childhood. The immune systems of people who are allergic to mold spores or pollen treat these allergens as invaders and release chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream to defend against them. It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergy symptoms.
Exposure to allergens causes inflammation in the nose and upper respiratory system.
There is no real cure for seasonal allergies, but it is possible to relieve symptoms. Start by reducing or eliminating exposure to allergens. During allergy season, keep windows closed, use air conditioning if possible, and stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
People with seasonal allergies should wash their hands or shower and change clothing after being outside, and should not mow the lawn, as this kicks up pollen and mold spores.
If reducing exposure isn’t possible or effective, medicines can help ease allergy symptoms. If symptoms cannot be managed with medicines, a doctor may recommend seeing an allergist or immunologist for regular allergy shots (immunotherapy), which can help desensitize someone to allergens.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
Explore more than 20 articles in English and Spanish about all aspects of allergies in children.
During an allergic reaction, your body’s immune system goes into overdrive. Find out more in this article for kids.
At various times of the year, pollen and mold spores trigger the cold-like symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Most kids find relief through reduced exposure to allergens or with medicines.
Your eyes itch, your nose is running, you’re sneezing, and you’re covered in hives. The enemy known as allergies has struck again.
Many kids battle allergies year-round, and some can’t control their symptoms with medications. For them, allergy shots (or allergen immunotherapy) can help.
Doctors use several different types of allergy tests, depending on what a person may be allergic to. Find out what to expect from allergy tests.
Find out what the experts have to say.
If you just sneezed, something was probably irritating or tickling the inside of your nose. Learn more about why you sneeze in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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