DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s that time of year when runny noses, sore throats, and sniffles are most common, and it feels like every year, allergies are getting worse.

Dr. Vuong Nayima, president of Iowa Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology P.C. says there are many factors that are causing allergies to worsen.

“There are a lot of theories as to why this is, I like the hygiene hypothesis, where we are too clean. Everything is sterilized and we take so many antibiotics and that messes with the immune system,” said Dr. Nayima.

Other reasons include a longer growing season, warmer temperatures, and more wind to move pollen around. While some see the cold weather as a savior to allergy season, Dr. Nayima says cold weather only helps mitigate allergies after several freezes occur.

So, if you find yourself under the weather and desperate for relief, Dr. Nayima says there are some things to avoid when heading to the pharmacy.

“A couple of things, the Sudafed, really try to minimize that,” Dr. Nayima said. “The sprays that contain the word vasoconstrictor, or decongestant spray, which is usually like Afrin, or something like that. They work so great, so fast, but there’s a reason why. You will pay for it long term. If you use them for more than around three days, there’s a potential that your nose will get worse in the long run. If you use it for a long time, like months or years on end, it can actually perforate your septum, and essentially destroy your nose.”

Dr. Nayima also suggests not using eyedrops that also say vasoconstricting long term. Instead, he suggests over the counter options like Zyrtec, Allegra, and safe options of nasal spray.