Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Quick GuideCould I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers

Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers

What are risk factors for allergic rhinitis?

A person is programmed to be allergic by his/her genetic makeup and is destined to be allergic from birth. People of all races are affected, and the condition affects both males and females equally. Symptoms commonly begin in childhood. Having frequent exposure to the particular allergic substance is a risk factor for frequent attacks.

When and where does allergic rhinitis occur?

Since allergic rhinitis is frequently caused by pollen, symptoms occur when pollen is in the air. Trees primarily pollinate in the spring, while grasses pollinate in the spring and summer. Weeds usually pollinate in the late summer and fall. Of allergy sufferers in the United States, many are allergic to ragweed, about half are allergic to grasses, and fewer are allergic to trees. Of course, many people are allergic to other substances such as mold spores, animal dander protein, and dust mites, to name a few. If you wish to know the pollen count in your area, this information can often be found in the newspaper in the weather section or you can access the National Allergy Bureau's pollen count information at their web site (http://www.aaaai.org/nab/index.cfm).

Food is an uncommon cause of allergic rhinitis.

Is allergic rhinitis contagious?

Allergic rhinitis, like other allergic reactions, is not contagious. However, the symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be confused with those of a common cold, which can be spread from person to person.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/7/2016

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