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Doctors: Mild Winter May Mean More Trouble For Outdoor Allergy Sufferers

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- While most people are welcoming these warm winter temperatures, it also means some suffering for those with spring allergies.

"Crazy, insane, the best weather in New York for this time, the best weather," one man said of the unseasonably high temperatures.

"It's freaky, but wonderful. I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth," another said.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported, allergy season really means pollen season, which starts with trees in the spring, then grass in the summer and finishes with a bang in the fall with weeds, mainly ragweed.

Right now, an early allergy season is overlapping with the end of cold and flu season, so runny noses could be due to either or both.

"With early warm weather, we expect trees to pollinate sooner," said Dr. Mohammad Younus, from Hackensack University Medical Center.

Looking around, you'll see little green or even buds on trees, which means allergy season is well on its way.

"It feels like as soon as it got warm, I started feeling tinges of it a bit. So not looking forward to it I guess if it's going to be really bad," one woman said.

Allergists say if you know you have pollen allergies, you should get ready before the season really starts.

"See their primary care doctor or their allergist one to two weeks before the season starts. So In this case, I would recommend them seeing their physician sooner because of the warmer climate," Younus suggested. 

"When you already have the symptoms it's harder to control," Winthrop University Hospital allergist Dr. Luz S. Fonacier added.

Dr. Fonacier also advises allergy sufferers to get started on their treatment early, and to wear a mask while working in the garden or outside.

"If you use a mask, you will decrease the amount of pollen that will go through your nose and also cause asthma as well," Dr. Fonacier said.

Dr. Fonacier said this mild winter may not bode well for allergy sufferers through the summer months, due to a longer growing season.

There are many over-the-counter medicines as well as prescription drugs and allergy shots that give relief, but they're much more effective at prevention before you start feeling symptoms.

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