Spring brings sunshine, emerging greenery and longer days, but many people dread this season for the sinus pressure, headaches, itchy eyes and respiratory problems it brings. Experts predict that the early taste of warm weather across much of the country in February and March means that pollen counts are increasing earlier, and impacts may be felt for a longer time this season.

“Compared to other regions in the US, this area has particularly mild weather throughout the year. As a result, the seasons blend together whereby our native foliage is consistently pollinating.” said Dr. Kimi Dart, Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) . “Allergy symptoms may vary throughout the year, depending on where you live and the types of substances you are allergic to. Still, many people experience a worsening of their allergies around springtime, when pollen counts are highest and many seek treatment for allergy relief.”

Spring allergies may begin as early as February and last until summer. Meteorologists predict that much of the Southeast and the East Coast will have increased pollen levels this year, due to the mild end of winter and early start to the growing season. According to the National Allergy Bureau, high concentrations of tree pollen have already been reported in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. And thanks to only short bursts of cold air, the trend is expected to continue.

If you or a family member suffers from hay fever or allergic rhinitis, here are some helpful tips to keep symptoms in check:

Leave the pollen outside. Take your shoes off at the door as much as possible, to keep from spreading pollen through your house.

Close your windows and dust your fans. Despite the nice weather, true sufferers should keep the windows shut to prevent allergens from entering. If you use a ceiling fan, give it a good spring cleaning. Replace air filters in your home and car.

Be thorough in your spring cleaning. Wash down your walls, get rid of clutter, launder all sheets and comforters, dust and clean blinds, baseboards and everywhere else you can reach.

Keep your immune system strong. Eat fresh, clean, nutrient rich foods and stay active. The healthier your immune system, the more equipped your body is to battle histamines.

Be aware of the pollen count. It changes daily – look up the count for the day, by zip code, at www.pollen.com

Sip warm beverages. Herbal teas can help ease congestion and keep you hydrated.

Wherever you live this year, allergies are likely to affect someone in your home. In addition to tips for avoiding allergy triggers, there are many effective treatments to minimize symptoms. Enjoy all the wonderful experiences spring has to offer by talking with your doctor about the best allergy prevention or treatment path for you. If you need help finding a primary care physician or ENT specialist, contact 325-649-3394 or go brmc-cares.com click on “Find a Doctor” for a list of ENT physicians or a Primary Care provider.