JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing.
Spring has sprung and that means allergy season.
It's already been tougher than normal.
David Parker is in the 20 percent of people who suffer from allergies. His are minor, head stuffiness and eye scratching, but he said he has to give in to treatment every now and then.
"Typically we avoid any medications unless its absolutely necessary," Parker said. "We will take 24 hour Claritin. It seems to work pretty well. Otherwise we suffer through it."
Local allergist Dr. Sunil Joshi said this pollen season has already been rough, starting off earlier than normal in early January. He said the yellow pollen can't be seen as much now. But just because you can't see it -- doesn't mean it's not there.
"You don't have to wash your car as much but there's still a ton of pollen out there," Joshi said. "Oak tree pollen can't be seen by the naked eye, and it is what causes most allergy symptoms this time of year."
The most common allergy symptoms include
- watery and itchy eyes
- nasal stuffiness and congestion
- coughing and wheezing
- skin issues like itching, hives and eczema
With summer quickly approaching, tree pollen will die down but Joshi said allergy sufferers aren't necessarily in the clear.
"The biggest allergen is grass pollen -- Bermuda grass," Joshi said. "People play golf and go to TPC in a couple weeks, and there's a ton of grass pollen out, so mowing your lawn, playing sports like soccer or football could be an issue."
When are your allergies severe enough that you should see a specialist like Joshi?
He said if over the counter medications aren't helping or you are constantly getting sinus infections or bronchitis, it may be time to see a doctor.