What causes sporadic allergic rhinitis (hay fever)?

Updated: May 18, 2018
  • Author: Javed Sheikh, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Sporadic allergic rhinitis, intermittent brief episodes of allergic rhinitis, is caused by intermittent exposure to an allergen. Often, this is due to pets or animals to which a person is not usually exposed. Sporadic allergic rhinitis can also be due to pollens, molds, or indoor allergens to which a person is not usually exposed. While allergy to specific foods can cause rhinitis, an individual affected by food allergy also usually has some combination of gastrointestinal, skin, and lung involvement. In this situation, the history findings usually suggest an association with a particular food. Watery rhinorrhea occurring shortly after eating may be vasomotor (and not allergic) in nature, mediated via the vagus nerve. This often is called gustatory rhinitis.


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