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Why is allergic rhinitis also called hay fever? Did it used to happen only with hay?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
4 doctors agree

In brief: Name in olden times

In the 19th century inflammatory conditions were called "fevers".
Temperature elevation was not a necessary requirement. Symptoms of ragweed allergy occur from mid-august to mid-september, the season when farmers cut the hay down in rural america. People attributed their allergic symptoms to dust from the cut hay. Ragweed pollen, the true cause of hay fever, was recognized only ~50 years ago.

In brief: Name in olden times

In the 19th century inflammatory conditions were called "fevers".
Temperature elevation was not a necessary requirement. Symptoms of ragweed allergy occur from mid-august to mid-september, the season when farmers cut the hay down in rural america. People attributed their allergic symptoms to dust from the cut hay. Ragweed pollen, the true cause of hay fever, was recognized only ~50 years ago.
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Dr. Steven Machtinger
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