What is Hay Fever?

What you know as hay fever is medically called allergic rhinitis. Unlike a cold, a virus does not cause allergic rhinitis. Hay fever is an allergic reaction. Besides being annoying to deal with, the symptoms can make it difficult to go to work or school. Let’s discuss the symptoms and causes of hay fever and when to see a doctor.

Symptoms of Hay Fever

The symptoms often present themselves as cold symptoms, but they are not quite the same thing as we said before. You are likely to have a runny nose and nasal congestion, red or itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing. Some other allergic rhinitis symptoms you may experience are listed below:

  • Itchy nose, roof of the mouth, or throat
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under the eyes (allergic shiners)
  • Postnasal drip
  • Fatigue

Seasonal Triggers

Seasonal changes are known to increase your chances of getting hay fever. Tree pollen is one of the triggers that come about in early spring. Grass pollen will usually affect you in late spring or summer. Ragweed pollen shows up in the fall, and pet dander can make your symptoms worse in the winter when your home is closed off. One trigger that is considered seasonal and year-round is spores from indoor and outdoor fungi and molds.


Allergic rhinitis occurs when your immune system identifies airborne substances as harmful. This reaction causes your body to produce antibodies against the said substance. When the airborne particles come around again, the antibodies cause your immune system to release chemicals like histamine, which causes the signs and symptoms of hay fever.

Risk Factors

Some people are more likely to experience hay fever than others. Having other allergies or asthma is one way you can be more likely to develop hay fever. Also, if you have eczema you might experience it more. Blood relatives are a risk factor as well or if you work in an environment that exposes you to allergens often. Another risk factor is having a mother who smoked during your first year of life.

When to See a Doctor About Hay Fever

Many people get used to hay fever symptoms, so they don’t visit a doctor until the symptoms are severe, but treatment might offer relief. Below are a few scenarios when you should see a doctor about your allergic rhinitis:

  • You can’t find relief
  • Side effects or lack of relief with medication
  • You have other conditions that might worsen your hay fever.

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid allergic rhinitis altogether. The best thing you can do is limit your exposure to the allergens that cause it. You should also start taking allergy medications before you are exposed to triggers. If you struggle with allergic rhinitis or other allergy conditions, give East Texas Sinus and Dizziness Center a call today! We can set up a consultation and get you feeling better in no time. We want you to enjoy the seasons, not suffer through them! Please remember to give us a like on Facebook, as well!