What is Hay Fever? | The Allergy Group | Boise & Nampa Allergy Clinics

One in five people in the United States suffer from seasonal allergy or hay fever. The Allergy Group assists patients in treating symptoms that interfere with their day-to-day activities.


Do you or your child have the following symptoms?

  • Facial Pressure & Sinus Pressure
  • Nasal Congestion & Snoring
  • Itchy Eyes, nose, roof of mouth, or throat
  • Swollen and dark circles under eyes
  • Cough
  • Runny nose, watery eyes, or sneezing

What are seasonal allergies/hay fever?

Seasonal allergy, or hayfever, is a common disorder afflicting between five and ten percent of the population. The Allergy Group is keenly interested in this group.

At its mild stage, seasonal allergy can be easily controllable by avoiding common pollen sources, such as grass mowing and conventional antihistamines. On the other hand, moderate to severe seasonal allergies can be miserable, interfering with normally enjoyable outdoor activities and interrupting proper sleep patterns. This can lead to fatigue and poor concentration with a falloff in school and work performance.

How can a board-certified allergist help?

The allergist helps by detailed history, physical examination and allergy skin scratch test. When symptoms are worse at only certain times of the year (seasonal allergic rhinitis) they are most likely due to pollens or outdoor molds. As a broad generalization, grasses are a problem in the spring and summer, trees during late winter and spring, molds during late summer, and weeds in the fall. However, these facts do not always apply to Idaho because of our unique weather conditions.

Allergy testing to determine the "triggers"

Not sure what is causing your allergies? Take the Allergy Skin Test to find out! Following the detailed history and physical examination, skin scratch tests will be ordered when necessary. The test consists of introducing small amounts of the suspected allergens into the skin, using a plastic needle dipped in the allergen “extract”. The results are available in 15-20 minutes. This allows us to identify what causes your symptoms.

Learn more about Allergy Skin Test.

Once the triggers have been identified, a personalized treatment plan will be outlined with you. This can include the following:

  • Avoidance strategies and lifestyle modifications
  • Nasal corticosteroid or antihistamine sprays to reduce inflammation
  • Oral antihistamines to relieve itching, sneezing & runny nose
  • Other medications
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots), only if it is correct for you.

Immunotherapy, only if it is correct for you:

With lifestyle modifications such as environmental control measures and medications, your allergy symptoms may improve. If not or if you do not like taking medications and believe in strengthening your immune system, allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be prescribed. To begin, you will receive injections of the allergens once or twice weekly and eventually, once monthly for three to five years.

The Allergy Group - Friendly, capable and experienced

Our team of physicians and healthcare professionals at The Allergy Group are highly experienced and trained to provide you with the best care. We are committed to your personal healthcare.

Feel better with our help. Call 208-377-4000 today or use our online form to schedule an appointment

Frequently Asked Questions

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance called an allergen. When an allergen, such as pollen, is absorbed into the body of an allergic person, that person’s immune system views the allergen as an invader and a chain reaction is initiated. White blood cells of the immune system produce IgE antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to special cells called mast cells, causing a release of potent chemicals such as histamine. These chemicals cause symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, itching and sneezing.

People can be allergic to one or several allergens. The most common include pollens, molds, dust mites, animal dander (dead skin flakes from animals with fur); foods; medications; cockroach droppings and insect stings.

An allergist/clinical immunologist is a Pediatrician or Internist who has undergone 2-3 years of special training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. To understand what you are allergic to, an allergist will take a personalized patient history, including a thorough record of the illness, family history, and home and work (school) environments; perform allergy testing, and possibly perform other laboratory tests. An allergist can create a management plan with you for better control of your environment. Your plan may also include proper medication and perhaps immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy, or "allergy shots", is recommended for patients with moderate to severe allergy symptoms throughout most of the year, who do not respond adequately to medications, and whose symptoms are triggered by an allergen that is not easily avoided, such as pollens or house dust mites. Immunotherapy involves the injection of allergenic extracts (tiny amounts of allergens) that are given over a period of 3-5 years. By gradually increasing the amount of extract, tolerance to the offending allergen will increase, and the patient’s symptoms will be relieved.

People with allergies have an inherited, genetic tendency to produce IgE, the allergic antibody, to many different substances such as seasonal allergens, (trees, grasses, weeds) or year-round allergens (dust mites, pet dander). When a person with allergies moves to another location, exposure to different allergens in the new location will likely result in a new set of allergy triggers, thereby trading one set of symptoms for another. In some cases, the benefits of a change in location may outweigh the negative aspects.

The tendency to have allergies is genetically inherited. Thus, instead of a cure, patients should work with their allergist to keep their allergies under control. Successful treatment of allergies includes early detection, proper usage of medications and simple allergen avoidance techniques.

In some cases, it is dangerous to ignore allergy symptoms. Severe and untreated hay fever may lead to asthma, sinusitis, and other serious conditions. Allergic dermatitis or eczema can spread to secondary infections if they are not treated properly, and untreated asthma can lead to chronic symptoms. Early detection and treatment of all allergic diseases is important.

Immunotherapy for food allergies is not recommended because of the chance of a severe allergic reaction to the injection. Currently, immunotherapy is used to treat patients who are sensitive to inhaled allergens—pollens, molds, dander and house dust. Studies have also found immunotherapy to be extremely effective in many cases of stinging insect allergy as well.