No, You’re Not Imagining It: Seasonal Allergies Are Worse This Year

illustration of man blowing his nose surrounded by trees with pollenIt’s that time of year again—you’re sitting outdoors enjoying the sunshine, when all of a sudden, you start to feel…itchy. Within an hour, that itch has turned into a full-blown sneeze attack complete with watery eyes and congestion, and now you’re running to the nearest pharmacy to buy some Zyrtec.

Seasonal allergies—or an allergic reaction to the tree and grass pollens that float around in the spring and summer, known as allergic rhinitis—affect nearly 60 million people in the United States every year. This year, they’re particularly bad in the Northeast, which can be attributed to factors such as climate change and recent dry spells, says longtime allergist Fred Little, a clinical associate professor of medicine and the director of the BMC allergy-immunology fellowship. BU Today spoke with Little about how allergies work and what you can do to cut down on the sneezing, itching, and watery eyes. Read the entire Q&A.