If you have nasal allergies, you're more sensitive than others to certain substances. These substances are usually considered harmless, such as pollen or mold. They cause an allergic reaction in your nose, eyes, and sinuses, triggering symptoms such as stuffiness, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes.

How nasal allergies are diagnosed. Doctors diagnose nasal allergies by:

  • what you tell them about your allergy symptoms
  • what you tell them about your medical history
  • a physical exam that may include tests to identify the substances to which you are allergic

How nasal allergies are treated. There are three main approaches to treating nasal allergies:

  • avoidance, where you try to stay away from the substances that trigger allergies
  • medications, which you take to either treat or prevent allergy symptoms
  • immunotherapy, where you receive injections that can help you become less sensitive to the substances causing allergic reactions

Is your nose sometimes stuffy or runny? Do you sneeze and itch? Do your allergy symptoms get worse in the early spring or late summer or fall? Do you feel like you have frequent colds that just won't go away?

Your "cold" may not be a cold at all. It may be nasal allergies, also called hay fever, chronic nasal allergy, or allergic rhinitis. These are allergies that affect your nose, eyes, ears and throat. They can occur seasonally or year-round.

The good news is nasal allergies can be treated, and you can feel better. See the next page on some tips to manage nasal allergies.