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.
Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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