Allergic rhinitis (AR) may be defined as an inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes caused by immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated (allergic) reaction to aeroallergens.
Allergic rhinitis,also called hay fever or pollinosis, literally means "allergic nose inflammation," where rhino means "to do with the nose" and the ending -itis simply refers to inflammation.
Allergic rhinitis is an allergic condition like asthma, meaning that the body tends to over react to certain types of outside substances. One way it overreacts is by producing antibodies that signal your immune system to release histamine and other chemicals. These chemicals cause the symptoms of allergic rhinitis including sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, and even coughing.
Allergic rhinitis can be inherited, but you probably don't inherit particular allergies, such as to cat dander or ragweed. Instead, you just inherit the tendency to be allergic. Children have a 30% to 60% chance of developing allergic rhinitis if one of their parents is affected and a 50% to 70% chance if both parents have allergic rhinitis.
Most people with allergic rhinitis know they have it, although it can sometimes be confused with the common cold.
Symptoms include runny nose; sneezing; itchy nose, mouth, throat, or eyes; and congestion. Other symptoms can also occur, such as tearing of the eyes, coughing, sore throat, wheezing, and headache.