Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)

Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)

Hay Fever is the common name for Allergic Rhinitis. Hay fever is an allergic reaction that occurs when your nose or eyes come in contact with a substance you are allergic to, such as pollen, dust mites, insect dander, animal dander, mould, etc.

Did you know? Despite being referred to as Hay Fever, this allergic reaction does not result in a fever.


Some of the symptoms of Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) may be characterised by:

  • Itching nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Blocked (Congested) nose
  • Postnasal Drip: Dripping of mucus from the back of the nose down the throat
  • Snoring

The validity and severity of these symptoms are dependent on the individual, as determined by a qualified healthcare provider.

Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) may also lead to additional complications. These complications may be characterised by:

  • Daytime tiredness / Sleep disturbance
  • Headaches
  • Sinusitis (frequent sinus infection) in Adults
  • Otitis (frequent ear infections) in Children
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD)

The validity and severity of these complications and the link to Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) are dependent on the individual, as determined by a qualified healthcare provider.


A Diagnosis can be conducted by a qualified healthcare provider who specialises in or has substantial experience working with allergies and Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis).

Diagnosis may require a review of medical history, physical examination and Allergy Testing (Skin Prick, Blood Test, Patch Test, etc) to test for triggers. Other tests may be conducted as determined by a qualified healthcare provider.


If you experience or are in the presence of someone that encounters an immediate serious reaction (this may include difficulty breathing, wheezing, throat tightening, swelling, collapse, etc), call or have someone call triple zero (000) immediately.

Common treatment* options for Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) are:

  • Allergen Minimisation- If the allergens causing Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) are identified, minimising exposure to the allergens may reduce symptoms. Products used to minimise allergen exposure may also be used.
  • Medication- Based on individual symptoms and requirements, the following medications may be prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider-
    • Non-drowsy Antihistamine tablets, sprays, eye drops and syrups to reduce the symptoms. Different products may be used depending on the circumstances.
    • Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays.
  • Nasal Irrigation 
    • Using a saline solution with a neti pot/ neti lota or rinse bottle to rinse the nasal cavity to flush the allergens from inside the nasal cavity.
  • Immunotherapy
    • Provided through qualified healthcare providers, Immunotherapy or "desensitisation" is a treatment option conducted for Allergen-specific desensitisation. In some instances, it may make a person less allergic or more tolerant to the substance they are allergic to. Immunotherapy isn't a cure and usually doesn't make the symptoms disappear entirely, but it has been shown to reduce the symptoms. The results may differ for each individual, speak to a qualified healthcare provider to learn more.

It's important for anyone with Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) to discuss treatments with a qualified healthcare provider to understand how to manage individual symptoms and also to set up a Treatment Plan.

*Please note any treatments and/or medications administered must be managed as directed by a qualified healthcare provider; otherwise, it could result in adverse effects.


The informal term for Allergic Rhinitis, “Hay Fever”, takes its name from a popular idea in the 19th century that the smell of hay in the summer irritated the body. 


  • Allergy Life Australia Online Peer Allergy Support Groups- These monthly online Support Groups allow Families with allergies and Adults with allergies to have open and genuine discussions about various topics related to their life with allergies. These groups are inclusive of all allergies. Click here to learn more

The information provided on Allergy Life Australia is to generally educate and inform you about living with allergies, intolerances and conditions, and is not intended as medical instruction or as a substitute for diagnosis, examination and advice by a qualified health care provider.