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Maryland's warm days and spring weather are contributing to seasonal allergies

Maryland's warm days and spring weather are contributing to seasonal allergies
Maryland's warm days and spring weather are contributing to seasonal allergies 01:41

BALTIMORE -- It can be difficult to enjoy the spring weather if you're fighting seasonal allergies. You may have noticed that your allergies started earlier than usual this year—and you're not alone. 

WJZ spoke with people enjoying the good weather at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis on Thursday. 

A woman, known as Larissa, said she has been constantly sneezing.

"When it was the winter, I was normal," she said. "Now, I am just sneezing all the time." 

More than 24 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies or "hay fever" according to the CDC. Pollen is one of the biggest culprits. If you're allergic to it you might experience a runny, itchy congested nose, sneezing, irritated eyes, an itchy throat and even headaches. 

Dr. Esteban Schabelman, the chief medical officer at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, said that allergy season started earlier than usual this year. 

"People are probably going to have slightly longer allergy season this year and maybe moving forward as well," Schabelman said.

He said the length of allergy season will depend on the weather. 

"The fact that we're having heat start earlier in the spring is making the flowers bloom earlier, and that's what's driving people's allergies," Schabelman said.

Unfortunately, those symptoms last as long as the pollen count stays high. 

Stacy Green of Annapolis said she has noticed all of the pollen covering vehicles this year.

"If it's a lot on the car, on the top, and when I open the door, it will be like flying then I know I will sneeze a lot," Larissa added.

To keep allergens out of your home, Dr. Schabelman recommends keeping windows and doors shut, using HEPA air filters, and taking a shower as soon as you get home after being outside. 

As it's tough to avoid going outside, especially on a sunny day, many people resort to allergy medicine. 

Green said she typically depends on "over the counter" medications "like Sinax or something like that."

Schabelman said it's wisest for a person to start taking allergy medication before symptoms kick in. 

"About two weeks before," Schabelman said. "I think this year—because the allergy season started a little earlier—if you haven't started having allergies yet and you normally do, I would start taking your medication sooner rather than later." 

Schabelman said finding the best allergy medication can take a bit of trial and error. A doctor can tell you what allergy medicines will interact with any other medications you might be taking.

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