Allergy symptoms arrive out of season

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The spring allergy season has struck Alabama early, and people across the Birmingham metro area are already complaining about itchy eyes and runny noses.

Tree pollen levels are already high and trees are starting to bloom across the area. Allergists say this typically starts in March, but it's happening a few weeks ahead of schedule due to the recent warm weather. As a result, people are starting to flood doctor's offices at the Alabama Allergy and Asthma Center looking for relief.

"Especially with trees, eye symptoms tend to be prominent," said Dr. Kay Knight at the Alabama Allergy and Asthma Center. "We're seeing itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, throat drainage.  Those types of things are common from tree pollen."

Dr. Knight said there are simple things you can do to get some relief.  Try to avoid spending time outdoors, and if you do, shower and change you clothes afterwards, keep windows to your house closed, and take an over the counter antihistamine if you start to feel bad.  She said while the season may be starting early, it is still difficult to tell if this will be an especially bad year for allergies.

"A lot of it will depend on rainfall patterns," said Dr. Knight, "If we stay warm,  it could be a long and exasperating pollen season."

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