Rhinitis caused by an allergic reaction may be either seasonal—occurring only at certain times of the year—or perennial—occurring year-round.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is sometimes called “hay fever.” It is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees and grasses. Ragweed pollen is another frequent culprit causing hay fever. This type of rhinitis occurs mainly in the spring and fall when these pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds are in the air.
The nose normally produces a fluid called mucus. This fluid is normally thin and clear. It helps to keep dust, debris, and allergens out of the lungs. Mucus traps particles like dust and pollen as well as bacteria and viruses.
Normally, mucus drains down the back of the throat, but you’re not aware of it due to its relatively small amount and thin consistency. But when the nose becomes irritated, it may produce more mucus, which becomes thick and pale yellow. The mucus may begin to flow from the front of the nose as well as the back. Substances in the mucus may irritate the back of the throat and cause coughing. This increased mucus draining down the throat is called postnasal drip.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation mucous membrane covering the white of the eyes and the inner side of the eyelids. If something irritates this clear membrane, your eyes may water, itch, hurt, or become red or swollen.
In some people, conjunctivitis is due to an allergy. In these instances, the condition is called either allergic conjunctivitis or ocular allergy. It can occur alone, or it may be associated with nasal allergy symptoms. Unlike conditions such as pink eye, allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.