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Allergy season starts early

The signs of spring are all around us. Trees are budding and flowers are starting to pop out of the ground. While many people embrace the warm weather, there are millions that won’t embrace the allergies that come with the seasonal change.

An early start to allergy season

The mild winter was something to celebrate, but the early onslaught of sneezing, water eyes and itching won’t be. Allergy season started a little early this year, with pollen counts reaching new records in many cities across the country.

The allergy impact
About 40 million people in the U.S. have some type of indoor/outdoor allergy, known as seasonal allergies.

“Most allergies develop in childhood, but in some people, they develop later after exposure to environmental factors ‘flips the switch.’ For example, we know that diesel particulate exposure can trigger allergies. The end result is a runaway response in the immune system,” James Sublett, MD, FACAAI, a clinical professor and section chief of pediatric allergy at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and managing partner of Family Allergy and Asthma in Louisville, Kentucky explains.

Among the most common allergy triggers, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, are:

  • Tree, grass, and weed pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mite and cockroach allergens
  • Cat, dog, and rodent dander

Tips to battle allergy season

WebMD offers three tips to beat allergies this season. For starters, treat allergies early. The longer a person waits to take an allergy-fighting medication, the worse the symptoms get.

The second tip: be smart about going outside. Consider wearing protective masks and gloves to keep some irritants away.

The final tip: consult an allergist. Many allergy sufferers simply take over-the-counter medications, which may not be the best treatment. Other products like neti-pots have become popular to treat allergies, but it’s still important to talk with a trained doctor.

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