Allergic rhinitis, better known as hay fever, is a seasonal reaction to pollens and other allergens in the environment. An allergic reaction is caused by an incorrect response by the immune system. When pollen or another allergen enters the body, the immune system incorrectly identifies it as something harmful. This triggers the release of antibodies and other defenses to protect the body against the harmful intruder. This defense also causes common allergy symptoms including runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes.
In cases of hay fever, pollens from plants are carried into the lungs in the air we breathe. Common treatments include antihistamines and decongestants which can be taken as pills or nasal sprays, as well as corticosteroid sprays. These treatments work to reduce the body’s immune system reaction to pollen and to limit the severity of allergy symptoms.