Allergies & Allergic Rhinitis

Overview of Allergies & Allergic Rhinitis

A person has an allergy when their body overreacts to things that don’t cause problems for most people. These things are called allergens. The body’s overreaction to the allergen is what causes the actual symptoms of allergies. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is usually caused by pollens from grasses, trees, weeds. Symptoms typically occur during spring, summer or fall. Year-round allergies can be caused by molds, animal dander or house dust.

Signs & Symptoms

Typical symptoms of allergies can include the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy nose & eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Ear fullness and popping
  • Hives
  • Trouble breathing


It is usually not possible to prevent the development of an allergy in a person with a susceptibility to develop certain allergies. However, there are some specific suggestions for minimizing excess exposure to certain allergens, as well as avoiding things that can make allergy symptoms worse: environmental pollutants, irritating fumes such as tobacco smoke or wood smoke, wind, aerosol sprays.


People with allergies learn how to control their symptoms with the use of certain medications such as over the counter or prescription antihistamines, Cromolyn, nasal steroid sprays, decongestants or eye drops. If these treatments fail, possibly identifying one’s allergen sensitivities through special allergy tests can be done and sometimes allergy shots (immunotherapy) can be another option.

How We Can Help

  • If you would like to be seen by our medical staff, please contact our Appointment Desk to schedule an appointment.
  • Also, our Advice Nurse service is available at no charge for all UC Davis students to discuss health concerns and the need for medical care.
  • Over the counter (OTC) products to control the symptoms of allergies are available for purchase at our Pharmacy, which is located on the first floor of the UC Davis Student Health & Wellness Center.