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Additional Information From NIAID

Pollen Allergy

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Introduction to Pollen Allergy

Many people know pollen allergy as hay fever, but health experts usually refer to it as “seasonal allergic rhinitis.” This simply means an allergy to pollen that makes your nose run during certain seasons.

Of all the things that can cause an allergy, pollen is one of the most common. To a great extent, people can avoid many of the foods, medicines, or animals that cause allergies. But, short of staying indoors with the windows closed when the pollen count is high—and even that may not help—people have no easy way to avoid breathing in pollen that floats in the air.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is a specific reaction of your body’s immune system to a normally harmless substance. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one substance.

Symptoms of pollen allergy include any of the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Congestion of the nose
  • Red and watery eyes

Last Updated October 17, 2011

Last Reviewed October 11, 2011