Seasonal allergies, sometimes called "hay fever" or seasonal allergic rhinitis, are allergy symptoms that happen during certain times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.

Signs and symptoms

Allergy symptoms usually come on suddenly and last as long as a person is exposed to the allergen. They can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and/or throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Clear, running nose
  • Coughing
  • Watery or itchy eyes


An allergy starts when your immune system mistakes a normally harmless substance for a dangerous invader. Airborne allergens include:

  • Pollen
  • Animal dander
  • Dust mites
  • Mold

Risk Factors

  • Have a family history of asthma or allergies, such as hay fever, hives or eczema
  • Are a child
  • Have asthma or another allergic condition


  • Medications: Depending on your allergy, medications can help reduce your immune system reaction and ease symptoms. Your doctor might suggest over-the-counter or prescription medication in the form of pills or liquid, nasal sprays, or eyedrops
  • Immunotherapy: For severe allergies or allergies not completely relieved by other treatment, your doctor might recommend allergen immunotherapy

When to seek care

You might see a doctor if you have symptoms you think are caused by an allergy, and over-the-counter allergy medications don't provide enough relief.


  • Allergen avoidance. Your doctor will help you take steps to identify and avoid your allergy triggers. This is generally the most important step in preventing allergic reactions and reducing symptoms
  • Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car during allergy season
  • Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors
  • Consider wearing a dust mask when you’re outside, especially on windy days

Campus Resources

Nebraska Medicine University Health Center offers health care services to help students feel and stay well.

Appointments are required for all visits. To schedule, call 402.472.5000. Learn more about hours.