The Asthma Center

Seasonal allergic rhinitis

Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) or intermittent allergic rhinitis is a form of nasal inflammation (rhinitis) triggered by exposure to airborne pollen particles during the spring and fall seasons. The spring allergy season in the Delaware Valley correlates with airborne levels of tree and grass pollen. It usually begins in mid-March, peaks in late April and early May and ends in early June. Spring allergies have also been known as rose fever. The fall allergy season in the Delaware Valley correlates with airborne levels of weed (particularly ragweed) pollen. It usually begins in mid-August, peaks in late August and early September and ends in late October.


Classic symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis are:

  • Itching of the nose, ears, throat and roof of mouth
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Clear, watery nasal discharge
  • Sinus pressure
  • Post nasal drip
  • Ear fullness and popping
  • Cough
  • Fatigue

Examination of the nostrils reveals pale appearance and swelling of the lining of the nose and nasal turbinates. Examination of the exterior of the nose often shows a horizontal crease across the bridge of the nose caused by repetitive use of the “allergic salute” – wiping the nose with the palm of the hand in an upward motion.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis can involve the eyes and lead to allergic eye conditions. Seasonal allergic rhinitis can also predispose you to respiratory infections such as sinusitis and otitis media. It is often accompanied by other allergic disorders including asthma and atopic dermatitis.