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Here's why allergy season seems a little more unbearable this year in Philadelphia

Why does the 2024 springtime allergy season feel worse than usual in Philadelphia?
Why does the 2024 springtime allergy season feel worse than usual in Philadelphia? 02:23

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- About 81 million people have seasonal allergies and the numbers are growing. Doctors say the spring allergy season is longer and more intense than it's been because of global warming and it has prolonged symptoms.

Spring flowers around the Philadelphia region are a welcome sight but the botanical beauties and budding trees are triggering a big spike in allergy symptoms.

"Today is pretty bad," Rahim Ali said.   

"A lot of sneezing, swollen eyes, just very insufferable," Patricia Davis said.

"It just makes me cough more easily and makes my breathing a little uncomfortable," Claudia Crane said. 

For those with allergies, the misery will linger. Allergy season is getting longer, starting 20 days earlier and lasting 10 days longer

"When you have a warm winter, it just means that the growing season starts earlier that's going to prolong the season," Dr. Manav Segal, a Philadelphia-based allergy specialist, said. 

Segal said 2023 was the warmest winter on record, and also increased the amount of pollen in the air by more than 20%.

"So as those pollen counts increase, it's going to be responsible for increased symptoms," Segal said. 

For those looking to minimize pollen exposure:

  • Stay inside when the pollen count is high.
  • Change your clothes and shower once home to remove pollen particles from your body.
  • Keep windows closed and use high-efficiency filters in your home's ventilation system.
  • And if you're taking allergy medicine, begin two weeks before the season starts.

If medications don't work, doctors say allergy shots can be very helpful for some people.

Spring allergies will stick around until mid-June. Then there's a little break until September when fall allergies kick in.

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