The impact of allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever, is taking centre stage during World Allergy Week, observed until Saturday (28/04). Allergic rhinitis, which causes swelling and inflammation in the nose, can severely affect a person’s quality of life. According to the Allergy Foundation South Africa, persistent and uncontrolled allergic rhinitis has been shown to limit children’s ability to learn and impede adults’ chances of working to the best of their ability. Like with other allergies, it develops when the body’s immune system becomes sensitised and overreacts to something in the environment that might not effect other people at all. The most common symptoms are an itchy, blocked or runny nose, sneezing or a post-nasal drip. Symptoms affecting other parts of the body can include itchy eyes, ears or palate, red eyes, a sore throat, coughing and lack of sleep.