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Itchy eyes. Runny nose. It's allergy season!

Spring is beautiful, but it’s also a key time of year for seasonal allergies. As plants release pollen, millions of people with hay fever start to sniffle and sneeze. There’s no cure but you can take steps to curb springtime allergies, from medication to household habits.

The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen. Trees, grasses, and weeds release these tiny grains into the air to fertilize other plants. When they get into the nose of someone who’s allergic, they send the body’s defenses haywire.

The immune system mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger and releases antibodies that attack the allergens. That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms that are all too familiar if you have allergies.

For mild pollen allergies, an over-the-counter antihistamine may help. If these don’t give you relief, talk to a health care provider about medicines like prescription antihistamines, topical nasal steroids, decongestants, and allergy shots.