Types of Nasal Allergies

There are two main types of nasal allergies: seasonal, which occur only at certain times during the year, and perennial, which occur year-round. Both cause the same symptoms. The primary difference is when and how often the symptoms occur.

  • Seasonal allergies are commonly called hay fever. They occur at specific times during the year and result in more than 10 million doctor visits annually in the U.S. Grass or weed pollens, which are seasonal in nature, are the most common triggers.
  • With perennial nasal allergies, symptoms don't change with the seasons. That's because the substances you're allergic to exist all year. They include cockroaches, pet dander, and mold spores. Or, you may be allergic to tiny parasites called dust mites that live in your house. As anyone who has cleaned house knows, dust has no season. The good news is that limiting your exposure to these triggers can usually control perennial nasal allergies.

Even though nasal allergy symptoms can be quite bothersome, many people who have them think they're normal. They don't recognize the symptoms because:

  • symptoms tend to develop slowly over time
  • symptoms are present most of the time or chronic, so they seem to be normal
  • other people in the family have the same symptoms

To learn about the causes of these symptoms, see the next page.