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Allergic Rhinitis and findings from Burn Pit Registry participants

Military Exposures & Your Health: Information for Veterans who servedthe gulf war era and their families

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever or allergies, is a common condition that can cause sneezing; a runny or stuffy nose; itching of the eyes, nose, and mouth; post-nasal drip; cough; irritability; and fatigue. It is not life threating, but it can make you feel more sleepy or uncomfortable. Allergic rhinitis affects 10-30% of children and adults in the United States and other developed countries1.

Among participants in VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, hay fever or allergies are the third most commonly reported health condition of Veterans who served in Southwest Asia after insomnia and neurological problems. This survey asks participants “Have you been told by a doctor or other health professional that you had hay fever or allergies to pollen, dust or animals?” Among registry participants from the start of the registry through 2020, 88,598 (39.6%) answered yes.

Some of the common causes of allergic rhinitis are pollen from trees or grasses, dust mites, animal dander and mold.  It typically takes a few years of allergen exposure to develop. One of the mainstays of treatment is removal from the source of the allergies. This is good news if your symptoms were worsened by deployment; however, if you suffer from the condition in the states, you may not be able to move to get away from the source of the exposure.

Fortunately, effective treatments are available to relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. If you have this condition, talk to your health care provider about a treatment for you. Learn more about allergic rhinitis from the Veterans Health Library.

For more findings from the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, go to the latest Summary of Self Reported Registry data.


Findings from Registry Question

Answers to the question “Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health care professional that you had __________?” in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry.  

April 2014 to June 20201

July 2020 to December 20201

Cumulative April 2014 to Dec 31, 2020

Health Condition2





167,011 (80.1%)

11,004 (72.5%)

178,015 (79.6%)

Neurological Problem

146,915 (70.5%)

9,014 (59.4%)

155,929 (69.7%)


82,683 (39.6%)

5,915 (39.0%)

88,598 (39.6%)


76,661 (36.8%)

4,813 (31.7%)

81,474 (36.4%)

Immune System

39,102 (18.8%)

1,964 (12.9%)

41,066 (18.4%)

Chronic Multi-Symptom Illness

37,782 (18.1%)

2,193 (14.4%)

39,975 (17.9%)


29,238 (14.0%)

1,687 (11.1%)

30,925 (13.8%)

Chronic Bronchitis

25,951 (12.4%)

1,374 (9.1%)

27,325 (12.2%)

1Percentages are based on the total number of participants (N=208,533 in June 2020 and 15,181 through July and December 31, 2020)

2Total count exceeds the total number participants because participants can report multiple health conditions.


  1. Source: diagnosis?search=allergic%20rhinitis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2





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