Allergic rhinitis is a collection of symptoms, predominantly in the nose and eyes, caused by allergens such as dust, dander, and pollen. The sensitized immune system produces antibodies to these allergens, triggering the release of a chemical called histamine, which causes itching, swelling of affected tissues, mucus production, hives, rashes, and other symptoms. Symptoms vary in severity from person to person. Hay fever is a common example of allergic rhinitis.
Review Date: 08/17/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.