Allergic rhinitis is inflammation of the nasal lining due to an allergen
Signs and Symptoms:
Allergic rhinitis can cause many symptoms, including the following:

  • Stuffy, runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Red, itchy, and watery eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Itchy mouth, throat, ears, and face
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Headaches, facial pain or pressure
  • Partial loss of hearing, smell, and taste
  • Fatigue
  • Dark circles under the eyes


The body's immune system is designed to fight harmful substances like bacteria and viruses. But in allergic rhinitis, the immune system overresponds to harmless substances -- like pollen, mold, and pet dander -- and launches an assault. This attack is called an allergic reaction.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergic reaction to pollens and spores (depending on the season and area) as they are carried on the wind. Sources include:

  • Ragweed -- the most common seasonal allergen (fall)
  • Grass pollen (late spring and summer)
  • Tree pollen (spring)
  • Fungus (mold growing on dead leaves, common in summer)

Year-round allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergic reaction to airborne particles from the following:

  • Pet dander
  • Dust and household mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Molds growing on wall paper, house plants, carpeting, and upholstery

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of allergies
  • Having other allergies, such as food allergies or eczema
  • Exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke
  • Male gender