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Getting a head start on curbing spring allergies

Getting a head start on curbing spring allergies
Getting a head start on curbing spring allergies 02:26

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - With the warmer spring weather already here, it's starting the cycle of growth and pollen a bit early.

If you suffer from allergies, you know what's coming, so is there anything you can do about it?

What's the adage? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Well, it applies to allergies, too.

The sunshine is warm, and everything around us is starting to awaken from its winter snooze. Look closely at the trees, and the buds are starting to show.

"As we start getting warmer days and there is less snow on the ground, we'll start to see the trees start budding," says Dr. Sandra Hong, an allergy specialist at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Hong says with the buds will come pollen, but not quite yet here, according to AHN allergy specialist Dr. Russ Traister, but we're close.

"Sometime in mid-to-late March is when we have a good chance of starting to see some of the pollen counts for trees increasing, but I think it's all a sign that we're getting there," Dr. Traister said.

Now, before you're miserable and reaching for the tissues, get something of a head start on your medications.

"It's never a bad idea to get a head start on it and just start up those allergy medicines a few weeks ahead of time."

Dr. Traister says to go ahead and start the nose sprays like Flonase.

"You're just sort of getting that baseline of, okay, you're telling your nose to keep that inflammation down, and then when everything starts acting up, you already have that steroid onboard, sort of trying to suppress it from getting to such a high level," Dr. Traister adds. "The oral antihistamines can help, with a lot more with the itching, sneezing, and the dripping."

But once you start, you need to keep it up.

"It can last through much of the spring into the early summer."

Of course, once the tree pollen calms down, we're into the grass and weed pollen season.

So, start the medicine before the slam of pollen season hits?

That's the recommendation, and Dr. Traister says both the nasal spray and the oral antihistamines are once-a-day applications.

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