What Causes Hay Fever?

Despite its common name, hay fever isn’t caused by hay and doesn’t result in a fever. It occurs when an allergen that you are sensitive to comes into contact with your nose and/or your eyes.1

So what could these allergens be? They are tiny particles in the air we breathe, like pollen, cat hair or dust, which people may come into contact with every day.1 When a person who suffers from allergic rhinitis comes in contact with an allergen that affects them, the immune system mistakes it for a harmful invader, and prepares itself to fight against it. The immune system then sends in the “soldiers” to fight the allergen — all this extra activity leads to swelling (inflammation) of nasal passages and lots of extra snot.2, 3

By taking note of the circumstances when you experience symptoms, you might be able to work out what allergens trigger your hay fever.

Speak to your healthcare professional to better understand what may be the triggers of your hay fever.

Outdoor Allergens

Pollens from grass, trees, weeds and some fungi1, 4

Indoor Allergens

Animal fur, cockroach waste, house dust mites and mould1, 3


Cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, laundry products, cosmetics, pool chlorine, air pollutants, hair spray and perfume2, 4


1. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy ASCIA ‘Is it allergic rhinitis (hay fever)? June 2015, Accessed August 8 2016.

2. American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology ‘ Allergic Rhinitis’ Accessed 20 September 2016 http://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis

3. Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) Guidelines, 2008 Update.

4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Allergic rhinitis (‘hay fever’) in Australia. November 2011. Accessed August 8 2016.