Allergic rhinitis affects between 10% and 25% of the worlds population, and this number appears to be increasing.
Hay fever, seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR), is an allergic reaction that occurs when the immune system overreacts to substances that have been inhaled.
There are two main types of allergic rhinitis, seasonal and persistent. Hay fever is the common term used to describe seasonal allergic rhinitis. SAR is an allergic reaction that is triggered by the airborne pollens of specific seasonal plants such as trees, weeds, mould and, much more commonly, grasses.
Rhinitis is inflammation of the mucosal membrane in the nose. Symptoms, which can be mild or severe, include:
- itching of the nose, palate, throat (oropharynx) and ears
- runny nose (rhinorrhoea)
The effects of hay fever on quality of life
Many sufferers of hay fever report that their symptoms are not well controlled and, whilst symptoms are not life-threatening, they can have a substantial impact on a persons quality of life and ability to function daily.
Practical problems experienced include:
- continual nose blowing
- eye and nose rubbing
- disrupted sleep
- poor concentration
- reduced work productivity