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Spring Allergies Survival Guide

Expert Chats

Today is the first official day of spring, though it may not feel that way in Boston just yet. But with any luck, warm weather, extra hours of daylight and summer vacations are just around the corner.

Also on the way? Spring allergens, like pollen. We checked in with Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat of the Sinus Center at Mass. Eye and Ear, who helped us develop a “survival guide” to the season.

Surviving spring allergies: 1 in 4 people suffer from allergies, and common symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy nose and eyes, worsened asthma symptoms and decreased quality of sleep.

Spring Allergy Basics

  • Allergies affect 25 percent of the world’s population (or 1 in 4 people).
  • Spring is the most common seasonal allergy in children, while summer allergies are most common in adults.
  • Tree pollen is the culprit of most spring allergies — with birch, elm, maple, white ash and walnut trees being the biggest triggers.
  • Runny noses, nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and itchy noses and eyes are among the most common symptoms of spring allergies.
  • Allergies may impact other conditions. For example, they can make asthma worse, and they can negatively impact sleep quality.

How to Survive?

  • Avoidance — stay inside on days with high pollen counts (check this website for pollen counts, maintained by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology).
  • Air filters — install a HEPA filter to clean the air in your home.
  • Change your clothing when coming inside the house.

If you need further relief, talk to your doctor about pharmacologic therapies, including nasal saline rinses to wash allergens out of the nose, nasal steroid sprays, oral antihistamines and allergy shots.