If you've been coughing and sneezing already this year, you are not alone. Our unusually warm March has brought an early start to allergy season.
"They've been acting up really bad. Nothing but sneezing, and coughing, and they're just terrible," said Juliana Challis who has allergies.
SUNY ESF Professor Donald Leopold says mother nature is to blame. "The allergy season started with the really early spring conditions we had. A lot of plants that bloom in the spring early bloomed two to six weeks earlier than usual. After that really unusual early start, the weather had pretty much returned to normal," he said.
That cold front has helped calm some of the allergens but Leopold says what happens next for people who suffer from allergies is up in the air because it depends on the weather.
"Anybody that tries to make a claim about anything about the allergy season from this point on is pure speculation because it all depends on the weather conditions that happen right now. If these normal temperatures continue as we have for the past three weeks, then we won't have anything unusual other than the early start. If we get some more hard freezes, we could actually be killing some of the plants that really produce a lot of pollen, for example the ragweed," he said. "With these freezing temperatures we have, there's a chance that any ragweed we had germinating could be killed."
Dr. Rizwan Kahn with Asthma and Allergy Associates in Fayetteville says he has seen more people come into the office early on to get answers and help for their allergies. "More people are coming with their symptoms flaring up or new people and now there symptoms are worse so they are coming to seek some help," he said.
Dr. Kahn says there are a number of options for people to get relief. First, doctors need to figure out exactly what you are allergic to and then they can talk treatments which include everything from over-the-counter medicines to allergy shots that build up your resistance to certain allergens. "Some people decide to go on the medication first and see what happens. Some have so many problems, they've all ready tried the medications, they will take the option of the shots from the get-go," he said.
It's estimated that 35-million people suffer from seasonal allergies.