If you suffer from sneezing, a runny nose, or itchy eyes, you might think you have a cold. However, it could be an allergy. When you come across something that you are allergic to, your body reacts by producing chemicals. These chemicals cause the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
People can be allergic to many different things, such as:
- Dust mites
- Animal dandruff
Hay fever is also known as pollen allergy
, and is a type of seasonal allergic rhinitis (runny nose).
Hay fever is one of the most common kinds of allergies
. About 35 million Americans suffer from hay fever. Pollen is made by trees, grasses, and weeds. During the spring, summer, and fall, some plants release pollen into the air you breathe. Your symptoms might be different at different times of the year, depending on the kinds of plants that grow where you live and what allergies you have.
The types of pollen that most commonly cause allergic reactions are produced by the plain-looking plants (trees, grasses, and weeds) that do not have showy flowers. These plants make small, light, dry pollen grains that are custom-made for wind transport.
Amazingly, scientists have collected samples of ragweed pollen 400 miles out at sea and 2 miles high in the air. Because airborne pollen can drift for many miles, it does little good to rid an area of an offending plant. In addition, most allergenic pollen comes from plants that produce it in huge quantities. For example, a single ragweed plant can generate a million grains of pollen a day.