Prime time for allergies heats up

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Allergist Thomas Lupoli will tell you there's plenty to worry about in the Jacksonville area when it comes to sparking allergies.

"I always tell my patients, 'When you see that gold dust, you're not allergic to that gold dust, but everything else in the air. What you can't see is what you have to worry about,'" said Lupoli, of Allergy and Asthma Specialists of North Florida.

January to May is prime time for tree pollen -- cedar, elm and oak. And If you're allergic, it can affect you in very different ways.

It's often hard to know whether you have allergies, a cold, or even pink eye.

They key can be itching.

"Certainly if you have itchy eyes or itchy nose causing you to repetitively sneeze, that's usually a good indication that it's probably more allergic than viral," Lupoli said.

Mickey Bertera is continuing her series of allergy shots, a treatment she says changed her life.

"It's a night and day difference," said Bertera, who spent years thinking she just kept catching terrible colds.

Lupoli said over-the-counter drugs are a good option to prevent allergies from taking over, and so is rain.

"And the other thing is, you know, we're still in winter, so a freeze would certainly help as well, knocking pollens out of the air for several days to a week or so," Lupoli said.