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How many people suffer from seasonal allergies?

The Food and Drug Administration estimates that there are approximately 36 million people in the United States who suffer from seasonal allergies. This condition is also called by its common name of hay fever, or, by its technical name, allergic rhinitis.

While it may provide little comfort, the pollen that you are reacting to is actually harmless. The runny noses, scratchy eyes and headaches you endure actually result from a case of mistaken identity.

Your body believes that the pollen in the air is actually dust mites or fungal spores. In response, it releases histamine - a natural chemical that is part of the body's immune system response. The histamine causes irritation and inflammation of the soft tissue, which results in your sniffling and other symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.