5 Nasal Allergy Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on August 18, 2020

There are lots of ways to treat allergy trouble, so there's no need to shrug off symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes. Take action and get relief if you have any signs of these problems.

1. Runny or Stuffy Nose

It's one of the most common hay fever symptoms.

First, you need to know what your triggers are, so you can avoid them. A board-certified allergist -- a doctor who specializes in treating allergies -- can perform allergy testing.

Although it can be hard to completely avoid some triggers, you may be able to cut down on how often you're around them. For example, stay inside when pollen counts are high if that's a source of your allergies. If dogs or cats make you sniffle and you can't just stay away, wash your hands and change your clothes after you play with them.

You may want to rinse out the passages of your nose with a Neti pot, too.

You can also control your hay fever symptoms with over-the-counter treatments like nasal steroids, antihistamines, decongestants, and cromolyn sodium nasal sprays. Make sure you read and follow the directions on the labels. And don't use decongestant nasal sprays for more than 3 days at a time, because it can make your symptoms worse.

Your doctor may prescribe other remedies if these don't help. See them if your symptoms don't get better with over-the counter treatments or you develop other symptoms like fever.

2. Sinus Pressure

Your sinuses are small spaces behind your forehead, cheeks, and eyes. If mucus builds up in these areas because of allergies, you may feel pressure or pain.

You can try a few things to help clear up your stuffed-up sinuses. Put a moist, warm cloth on your face, or breathe in steam a few times each day. You can also try oral or nasal decongestants and over the counter pain medicines.

Call your doctor if you feel sinus pain and pressure for more than a week.

3. Sneezing

If you can't avoid the allergy trigger that makes you sneeze, or if that doesn't help, try an over-the-counter antihistamine.

Read and follow the directions on the label. If you still need more relief, your doctor may prescribe a nasal steroid spray.

4. Itchy Eyes

The best way to stop it is to avoid your allergy trigger. For example, if you're allergic to pollen, keep the windows shut when you're inside, and wear sunglasses outside to help protect your peepers.


Try not to rub your eyes, since this can irritate them, and don't wear contact lenses.

To soothe the itch, put a cold washcloth over your eyes or use artificial tears. Over-the-counter or prescription allergy meds or eye drops that contain an antihistamine can also help relieve symptoms.

5. Postnasal Drip

If the mucus in your nose gets thick, or if you have more of it than normal, you may get what's called "postnasal drip." That's when you can feel mucus dripping from the back of your nose into your throat which can lead to pain or irritation there.

You can get some relief if you drink extra fluids, use antihistamines, decongestants or use saline nasal spray to thin the mucus.

WebMD Medical Reference



James Sublett, MD, chief of pediatric allergy, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Ky.

Marshall Plaut, MD, chief of allergic mechanisms, Asthma, Allergy and Inflammation Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Bethesda, Md.

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: “Tips to Remember: Rhinitis,” “Eye Allergies - Believe your eyes, and see what they may be telling you,” “Tips to Remember: Allergic Reactions,” “Other diseases related to asthma,” “Spring allergies and cough.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Allergy Overview,” “Allergy Medications.”

Family Doctor: “Allergic Conjunctivitis.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology: “Post-nasal Drip,” “Fact Sheet: Sinus Pain: Can Over-the-Counter Medications Help?” “Fact Sheet: Your Nose, the Guardian of Your Lungs.”

University of Maryland Medical Center: “Wheezing,” “Cough,” “Allergic rhinitis - treatment.”

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