Hay fever symptoms are seasonal—they arise when particular plants are releasing pollen. Because you can be allergic to more than one allergen (symptom trigger), your symptoms may get worse at different times throughout the year or may be continual. When symptoms last longer than two weeks, and particularly if these symptoms lead to activity restriction, you should consider consulting an allergist. A skin test or blood test can be performed to identify the substance causing the allergic reaction.
Symptoms of hay fever may include:
- Nasal itching
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Watery eyes
- Bluish shadow under the eyes (sometimes called "allergic shiners")
- Facial pressure or pain
- Difficulty sleeping
Symptoms of allergies and colds can be similar; here's how to tell the difference:
- Duration of symptoms: Cold symptoms generally last seven to 10 days, whereas allergy symptoms continue with exposure to the allergen. Allergy symptoms also may subside soon after one is no longer exposed to the allergen, such as after entering an air-conditioned environment.
- Mucus discharge: Colds may cause yellowish nasal discharge, suggesting an infectious cause. Allergies generally cause clear, thin, watery mucus discharge.
- Sneezing: This is a more common symptom of allergies, especially when sneezing two or three times in a row.
- Time of year: Colds are more common during the winter months, whereas allergies are more common in the spring through the fall, when trees, grasses, and weeds are pollinating.
- Fever: Colds may be accompanied by a fever, but allergies are not.
Last reviewed on 08/19/2008
U.S. News's featured content providers were not involved in the selection of advertisers appearing on this website, and the placement of such advertisement in no way implies that these content providers endorse the products and services advertised. Disclaimer and a note about your health.