Hello spring, hello allergies!

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Spring is certainly welcome after the rough winter, but for many people, spring comes with a side of itchy eyes and sneezing.

FOX59 found several people downtown on Thursday, the first official day of spring, already suffering.

“I have a drainage in my throat,” said Linda Simers.

“It’s pretty bad actually,” said Patrick Bryan. “I’ve dealt with them my whole life.”

With a few warm days in the books, trees have released some pollen, opening the nasal floodgates for many Hoosiers.

In fact, St. Vincent clinics have already seen several people looking for relief.

Dr. Mark Holbreich, an allergist on the staff of Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, says the typical symptoms of allergies are sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes, and that can make allergies hard to diagnose.

“If you have a cold, you usually feel achy, you may be congested, but you don’t typically have sneezing and itching, so sneezing and itching are really the hallmarks of seasonal allergies.”

Dr. Holbreich says if you know you’re going to have allergy problems by mid-April, start an over-the-counter antihistamine now.

Most allergy sufferers can get away with over-the-counter help, and there’s more of it this year!

“For years and years and years, we’ve used prescription nasal steroids and this year, for the first time, those are available over the counter,” said Dr. Holbreich.

And actually Neti Pots or nasal washes with saline are very helpful because it actually washes the pollen out of your nose. Not everyone likes to do them, but they’re available over-the-counter and can be quite effective, particularly if you’re very congested.

For some people, a visit to an allergist is necessary for relief.

“It can matter significantly what your allergy is!” said Dr. Holbreich. “If you’re a young man and you find a nice girl and you want to get married and she has two cats and you can’t be in her house, it means a lot! But for a lot of people with a few weeks in the spring or the fall, they typically get through it.”

“Allergies typically start before age twenty. Children as young as four and five may begin to have their first pollen season this year.”

Dr. Holbreich says allergy season typically begins in March, breaks mid-summer, and then picks up again in the fall. Most allergies are gone by mid-October.