Aneela Naureen Hussain, MD, MBBS
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Hay Fever Overview
Most likely you or someone you know has allergies. The telltale itchy, puffy, watery eyes and red, stuffy nose signal changes in the seasons in homes and workplaces across the country. What these people suffer from is allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. The medical name for this condition refers to stuffy and itchy nose ("rhin-"), the most common symptom.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction. It is your immune system's response to foreign material in the air you breathe. Hay fever usually refers to allergies to outdoor, airborne materials such as pollens and molds.
About 15-20% of the population of the United States has some degree of hay fever. It is found equally in both men and women. Usually hay fever is seasonal, but it can last all year long if the allergen stays throughout the year. Spring and fall are the main hay fever seasons.
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