People who have hay fever may suffer from a progressive worsening of their nasal passage over time, Italian researchers have found.
The study showed that in 100 patients - 50 with short-term rhinitis, and 50 with long-term - those who experienced longer bouts with the disorder had significantly lower airflow in their nasal passages.
Researchers also found that 72 percent of the patients with long-term rhinitis had 'severe' nasal obstruction.
Hay fever occurs when the body's immune system over-responds to specific, non-infectious particles such as plant pollens, molds, dust mites, and animal hair, among others.
This causes skin redness and swollen membranes in the nasal passages, combined with sneezing and congestion.
The study is published in the June 2008 edition of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.