COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The warmer weather springs time forward and pushes plants to break out of hibernation. Many of these plants produce some sort of pollen. Allergists say the harsh winter could be responsible for more pollen, causing those with allergies to suffer.
"Trees usually start to bloom in early Spring and they have already started," explains Jessica Baldwin, an allergy nurse at St. Francis Hospital."You know, I noticed that too, maple trees and elm trees and cedar, they've all been really, really high. So, we're expecting it to be quite a bad season for allergies."
A prediction allergy sufferer Bernard Francis says his symptoms already hinted at. He adds "runny nose, watery eyes, my voice is raspy."
Nurse Jessica Baldwin says here in the Chattahoochee Valley, there are more than 30 pollen producing culprits. She says your first line of defense against the natural irritants is finding out which ones set you off.
"Pinpoint what your allergies are through allergy testing so we can know exactly what we need to work on," Baldwin adds.
Each one of these containers holds an allergen Baldwin says tests your skin's reaction to it. Once your trigger is identified, Baldwin recommends avoidance to reduce the risk of a reaction.
"I know it's hard to avoid the pollens in the air and things like that, but if you have a cat or dog allergy, dust mites, mold - those are pretty easy to avoid. You can find them and get rid of them," Baldwin shares.
Over the counter and prescription allergy medicine are both on the front line of defense according to Baldwin. For the allergens you can't find or avoid, Baldwin suggests taking a dose of them as medicine- a treatment called immuno-therapy.
Immuno-therapy is either allergy drops or injections you'd get once or twice a week from a physician or allergist for the first few months. Baldwin says this inexpensive treatment could help build an immunity to whatever your allergens are and they're covered by most insurance carriers.