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Sneezy season could start sooner, allergy expert warns

Unseasonably warm temperatures could bring an earlier and longer allergy season.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — February has brought unseasonably warm temperatures across the state of Pennsylvania. However, with these warm temps comes allergy season.

"If it is long enough spells of warmth, you can have things pollinating earlier than they would otherwise, and you may have an increase in the amount of mold in the air," said Dr. Nathaniel Hare, an expert in allergy and immunology at UPMC Williamsport.

Dr. Hare says with warmer temperatures, people may start to experience allergy symptoms soon.

"Itchy eyes, sneezing, and things like that may be your allergies," he said.

Tree, flower, grass, and weed pollen could arrive earlier than expected. According to the US Department of Agriculture, yearly increases in carbon dioxide levels may increase pollen production.

Dr. Hare says folks with seasonal allergies should try to plan ahead.

"I will often talk to my patients by saying, 'You know you start having symptoms from tree pollen in the spring every year; you may want to start your medicine a week or two ahead of time because it may take a week or two to kick in,'" Dr. Hare added.

If allergy season does come early, it is important to know the difference between allergies and viral infections. Allergies typically don't come with fevers.

"It is hard this time of the year with so many viruses going around, but you may not be getting another cold. It could be your allergies kicking in. So, just keep an eye on your symptoms and keep track of pollen counts and see if anything correlates with what you are usually allergic to," said Dr. Hare.

Dr. Hare says anyone suffering from a stuffy nose or irritated eyes should check in with their family doctor about allergy treatment.

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