Hay fever is the common name for a condition called allergic rhinitis, which means an allergy that affects the nose.
Hay fever is caused by your nose and/or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergens, such as pollens, dust mites, mould, animal hair and sometimes chemicals.
Most of us associate hay fever with spring, when airborne grass pollens are at their peak. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis or spring hay fever. However, hay fever can occur at any time of the year. When symptoms occur all year round, this is known as perennial allergic rhinitis. Perennial allergic rhinitis is usually caused by a reaction to allergens around the home, such as dust mites, mould, animal hair or fur, or occupational allergens.
Symptoms of hay fever may include
- runny or stuffy nose
- itchy ears, nose and throat
- red, itchy or watery eyes
In some cases, the symptoms of hay fever can be so severe that you can’t sleep or concentrate, and may feel tired or unwell.