What is hay fever?

What is hay fever?

“Hay fever” is an incorrect term. Hay is not a usual cause of this problem, and it does not cause fever. Early descriptions of sneezing, nasal congestion, and eye irritation while harvesting field hay promoted this popular term.24 

Allergic rhinitis is the correct term used to describe this allergic reaction, and many different substances cause the allergic symptoms. Rhinitis means “inflammation of the nose” and comes from the word rhino, meaning nose24 and can cause can cause symptoms such as sneezing, itching, a blocked nose, a runny nose and a postnasal drip (when mucus drains from the sinuses down the back of the throat).25 

Allergic rhinitis that occurs during a specific season is called “seasonal allergic rhinitis.” When it occurs throughout the year, it is called “perennial allergic rhinitis.”24

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