More than 50 million people in the United States have allergic diseases such as asthma, hay fever (allergic rhinitis), food allergy, and skin allergy (eczema). Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as allergies or hay fever, affects more than 15 percent of adults and children.

What Are Allergies

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With allergies, your body’s immune system, which is designed to protect you against harmful invaders, overreacts to seemingly harmless things such as pollen, dust, or mold. These harmless things are called “allergens,” and allergens are what start allergies. Symptoms may include runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes. Allergies may also trigger asthma with cough, wheezing, and chest tightness.

Two major patterns of allergies:

Seasonal Rhinitis

Symptoms occur in spring, summer and early fall. They are usually caused by sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds, sometimes from mold spores.

Perennial Rhinitis

Symptoms may occur in any time of the year and are often year-round. They are usually caused by sensitivity to house dust mites, animal dander, and indoor mold spores.

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