published Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Ask a doctor: Why do I develop a runny nose, sneeze and itchy eyes every spring?

Dr. Lee Perry

Q: Why do I develop a runny nose, sneeze and itchy eyes every spring? Is this a common cold or allergies? Antihistamines are not helping.

A: Both common colds and allergic rhinitis (“allergies”) can cause the symptoms you describe. Allergies are also associated with itchy or watery eyes. That your symptoms occur mostly in spring suggests possible seasonal allergies. I would recommend allergy skin testing to determine exactly what you are allergic to. Chattanooga has one of the worst tree pollen seasons in the country, ranking in the top 5 to 10 worst cities for spring allergies. Treatments for allergies include oral antihistamines, prescription nasal sprays and avoidance of allergic triggers. The only potential cure for allergic rhinitis is allergen immunotherapy, or allergy shots. Allergy shots are extremely effective at improving symptoms, while also decreasing your reliance on medications.

— Dr. Lee Perry, Chattanooga, Allergy Clinic; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at ccooper@ See this space each week for answers.

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