Allergies produce an array of symptoms, including eye irritation, sneezing, and congestion. Hay fever is not caused by hay, nor does it result in fever.
Common Symptoms of Allergies
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Itchy throat
- Dry cough
- Impaired sense of taste or smell
- Sleep disturbances
Itchy, watery eyes are often the first sign pollen season is underway. Or there may be an initial tickle on the roof of the mouth or in the back of the throat. Sneezing and a runny nose soon follow. Some allergy sufferers experience congestion, headaches, wheezing, and coughing. Symptoms may interfere with sleep and result in irritability. Allergic conjunctivitis, a condition in which the inner eyelids and whites of eyes become inflamed, may occur as well.
Although allergies can develop later in life, they usually show up before age 20. The average age that allergies begin is 10 years. Sometimes, people first get allergies as young adults or, occasionally, in middle age or later years. Like other problems that involve an abnormal immune system response, allergies tend to run in families. More than half of hay fever sufferers have a close relative with a history of allergies. Hay fever does not seem to discriminate between men and women or ethnic background.
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