Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)

pdfASCIA Fast Facts Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) 20191.05 MB

  1. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)Allergic rhinitis (commonly known as Hay Fever) affects around 18% of people (children and adults) in Australia and New Zealand. Despite its common name, it is not caused by hay and does not result in fever. It is caused by the nose and/or eyes coming into contact with allergens in the environment, such as pollens (grasses, weeds or trees), dust mites, moulds and animal hair.
  1. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include a runny/itchy or congested nose, sneezing and itchy/watery eyes. Whilst some of these symptoms may be similar to those caused by infections (such as colds and flu), allergy symptoms tend to persist unless treated.    
  1. Allergic rhinitis symptoms range from mild/moderate to severe, which affect day to day function. Symptoms may occur in Spring/Summer (usually due to pollen) or all year round (usually due to dust mites, moulds or animal hair). Complications of untreated allergic rhinitis include sleep disturbance, daytime tiredness, headaches, poor concentration, recurrent ear infections in children, recurrent sinus infections in adults and asthma which is more difficult to control.
  1. Your pharmacist and/or doctor can recommend treatments for allergic rhinitis. These include non-sedating antihistamines (tablets, syrups, nasal sprays, eye drops), intranasal corticosteroid (INCS) sprays, sprays containing a combination of INCS and antihistamine, salt water nasal sprays and rinses.
  1. For severe allergic rhinitis a referral to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist may be required for further assessment including allergy testing. If it is possible to confirm the allergen/s causing allergic rhinitis, then minimising exposure to the allergen/s may reduce symptoms.
  1. Allergen immunotherapy (also known as desensitisation) reduces the severity of symptoms and/or the need for regular medications. It involves taking regular, gradually increasing amounts of allergen extracts by injections or sublingual (under the tongue) tablets, sprays or drops. This is a long term treatment (3-5 years) for that should only be initiated after allergy testing, usually by a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.

For more information visit www.allergy.org.au/allergic-rhinitis

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia www.allergyfacts.org.au and Allergy New Zealand www.allergy.org.nz are patient support organisations that provide updates and advice for people with allergies.

© ASCIA 2018

ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand

Website: www.allergy.org.au 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Postal address: PO Box 450 Balgowlah NSW 2093 Australia

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by ASCIA members and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner. Development of this document is not funded by any commercial sources and is not influenced by commercial organisations.

Content updated February 2019

Mod ASCIA Member
Donate to AIFA
go to NAC website

ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology and allergy in Australia and New Zealand
ASCIA promotes and advances the study and knowledge of allergy and other immune diseases

Quick Links


ASCIA is a registered trademark of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. All content is subject to copyright for the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Read more...

The content for the website is developed and approved by ASCIA Committee and ASCIA Working Party Members. Read more...

Disclaimer I Privacy

The ASCIA website is intended for use by ASCIA members, health professionals and the general public. The content provided is for education, communication and information purposes only and is not intended to replace or constitute medical advice or treatments. Read more...

ASCIA respects your privacy. Read our privacy policy here...

Sponsors | Advertising

ASCIA does not endorse products from sponsoring organisations, nor is it influenced by sponsoring organisations with regard to the content of education programs and websites. 

The ASCIA website does not accept advertising. Any link to a third-party website does not imply any endorsement by ASCIA.

Information Partner

Official Information Partner of Healthdirect Australia