SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Next Wednesday is the first day of spring and a new report indicates that spring allergies in western Massachusetts are going to be brutal.
For those who suffer with spring allergies, you already know that western Massachusetts usually gets hit hard.
Now, a new report confirms that we are one of the top five "most challenging" - as the study puts it - places to live with spring allergies.
Springfield made the top five, but not on a list most cities would want to be a part of.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Springfield the fifth most challenging city in the U.S. to live in when it comes to spring allergies - behind Memphis, Providence, Jackson, MS, and number one - McAllen, TX.
Springfield actually moved up from 11th worst city last year.
Why is Springfield so bad? One word: Geography.
"Living in a valley geography actually plays a big role. Both air pollution and allergens tend to collect in the valley," said Dr. David Robertson with Allergy and Immunology Associates of New England.
Robertson said that, in fact, pollen thrives in the valley.
"Interestingly, living in a valley - because there's more carbon dioxide - it actually makes more pollen and the pollen that the plants make are more allergenic," Robertson explained
Researchers in the study said that they based their findings on higher than average pollen scores, higher-than-average medication usage, and availability of board-certified allergists in the area.
Also, now that the snow is melting, Robertson explained, "Head to your local pharmacy and get stocked up on your medication, so that when the pollen and mold start to emerge you're ready."
Robertson told Western Mass News that the first spring allergen offender should rear its ugly head in a matter of days.
"It's going to be outdoor mold. When the ground is wet and mushy and things finally start to melt, which is happening in my driveway, then there's a lot of outdoor mold that reactivates in the soil," Robertson said.
Robertson adeed that tree pollen is not far behind.
Springfield also makes the foundation's list of "extreme capitals", meaning it is one of only three cities that repeatedly show up in the top ten rankings of most challenging places for both spring allergies and asthma.
Last year, Springfield came in as the number one most challenging place to live when it comes to asthma.
For more information on the study, CLICK HERE.