TOLEDO, Ohio — The CDC reports that more than 24 million people in the U.S. experience pollen-related allergies, which is pretty much this time of year when we begin to experience those symptoms.
Luckily though, we can keep them under control.
Watery or itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing -- it all comes with the start of spring when trees begin to get their leaves back and flowers bloom.
If you're an allergy sufferer, Dr. Cathy Cantor, chief medical officer with Mercy Health, said odds are you know there's medication out there to help it.
"For those, generally they take the over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays and avoid any known allergens for you," she said.
Dr. Jennifer Yonkof, an allergy and immunology specialist with ProMedica, said sufferers can try a variety of other strategies if if medicine doesn't do the trick.
If trees trigger symptoms, try closing windows to keep pollen out of your home. Another option might be using air purifiers to filter pollen.
And if you've spent most of the day outside, Dr. Yonkof has some advice.
"Trying to take showers at night so that way you're cleaning off all of the pollens and not bringing them to bed with you," she said.
But how do you know if it's allergies and not just a common cold?
Dr. Yonkof explained tjat with allergies, you've probably suffered with it for many years, so it's more of a routine for you. With a cold, you will often have a fever.
"Then the response to some of those allergy medications, like antihistamine pills, can also help you to figure that out," she said
Allergy season usually starts around St. Patrick's Day, but medical experts say we could start to experience it earlier and earlier thanks to climate change.
"We have certainly seen allergy season starting sooner and lasting longer with the increase in temperature and aridity that we've experienced," Dr. Yonkof said.
"But with the climate change, it's starting to get pushed back each year closer to Valentine's Day," Dr. Cantor said. "That could continue to get pushed back to sooner and sooner as climate change evolves."
Another thing allergy sufferers can do is keep track of the pollen counts in your area. That will tell you which days have the highest and lowest amount of pollen so you can be prepared.
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