How to fight the good fight against allergies

This year is shaping up to be the worst year for allergy sufferers on record.

If you're one of the 35 million Americans allergic to pollen, you're probably looking for some relief for those itchy eyes and clogged noses.

Spring allergies: Seven natural remedies

But never fear. CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton offered a few tips for alleviating your allergic reactions

Special Section: Dr. Jennifer Ashton
Dr. Jennifer Ashton on Twitter

But why is this year so much worse than other years?

Ashton said experts theorize when you have a very wet winter, such as this year in many parts of the country, followed by a very dry spring, it creates "a perfect storm of sorts" for there to be a lot of pollen in the air.

She said, "Once that gets into contact with anyone who may be allergic, you have really a recipe for disaster. When you have a wet spring, the rain tends to kind of wash that down, keep it out of the air, and all you have to do is look at a windshield of a car, see that it's coated with that green fine pollen, to see exactly what's circulating in the air."

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America that tracks pollen count, leading the most affected areas is the south and southeast. She said Knoxville, Tenn. is No. 1, followed by Louisville, Ky., Charlotte, N.C., Jackson, Miss., and Chattanooga, Tenn. She said all of these areas are reporting very high allergy medications or prescriptions per patient.

"That's how they actually get a measure of this," she said. "But really anywhere in the country people are suffering."

If you are suffering from allergies, Ashton says doctors consider your level of severity.

"If it's severe, yes, you have to go to a doctor and go the medication and prescription route," she said. "But there's a lot of things you can do on your own just starting with reducing your exposure. So obviously, you want to wash your hair and clothing well. Those are the things that come into contact with this pollen just when we step outside. Keep your pets groomed well, because, again, it can land on their hair. Keep your windows and doors closed as much as possible with that air conditioning on. That will keep your home environment relatively pure. And lastly, when you do go outside, shield your eyes (with) sunglasses, so that it doesn't directly get into your eyes."

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