Updated 24 May 2017

Symptoms of hay fever

The following are symptoms of hay fever.

A person with hay fever may have any or all of the following:

  • Severe bouts of sneezing, especially in the morning
  • Intense itching of the nose and of the palate and even the ear canals
  • Watery nasal mucus
  • Stuffy nose all the time or during specific seasons
  • Itchy and teary eyes
  • Eyes that are sensitive to light
  • Reddened, pebbly lining in the lower eyelids
  • Frequent throat-clearing
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Snoring
  • Rabbit-like movements of the nose
  • A horizontal crease across the nose as a result of constant rubbing
  • Repeated nosebleeds
  • Dizziness or nausea, related to ear problems
  • Nasal voice because of blocked nasal passages
  • Dark circles under the eyes as a result of pressure from blocked nasal passages on the small blood vessels
  • Irritability
  • Headaches because of pressure from inside the nose or from the sinus canals being blocked and a negative pressure-sinus headache

Nasal blockage associated with headache, persistent dripping at the back of the throat and bad breath suggests chronic sinusitis rather than rhinitis. 

Read more: 

What is hay fever? 

Treating hay fever 

Causes of hay fever

Revised and reviewed by Professor Sharon Kling, Clinical Unit Head, General Paediatrics, Intensivist at Tygerberg Hospital and Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Stellenbosch University. February 2015.


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Allergy expert

Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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