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Allergy season starting earlier and lasting longer

Experts suggest allergy sufferers start their treatments now if they haven't already.

HARTFORD, Conn — Tiny signs that spring is almost here are starting to pop up. However, for those who suffer from allergies they know that means pollen is too. 

"It’s the pollen that really affects my eyes," said Dolores Iannini of West Hartford. "My eyes swell and they get itchy," she said.

"It’ll start to tickle your nose, and I’m like oh no, no, no. And then I know a few minutes later I’ll start sneezing uncontrollably I can’t stand that," said Jacqueline Mitchell of Hartford.

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She lives in one of the most challenging cities to live with seasonal allergies in the entire country according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

She knows the challenge all too well. 

"Your eyes be all puffy and watery and you be like ugh. And then sometimes I just have to stay inside and then wait 'til it subsides. I love spring but I don’t like the allergies. They’re a pain," Mitchell said.

Unfortunately, that dreaded allergy season is starting even sooner. 

"In general allergy season is lasting longer and it’s more intense with higher pollen counts and as you can imagine with the very little snow and frost we had this winter it’s coming earlier rather than later," said Dr. Kelsey Kaman of Hartford Healthcare.

The impacts of a mild winter will likely be felt this spring. 

"We will see a more abrupt uptick in the pollen and ragweed spring allergies because you’re going to get the flowering earlier," said Dr. Howard Selinger of Quinnipiac University.

A new report from the non-profit Climate Central, found that growing season across the U.S. has been getting longer and longer each year since 1970. 

So allergy sufferers should gear up. Experts suggest taking medication or using nasal sprays to try to treat the uncomfortable symptoms. 

"Just one or both of those pharmaceuticals," Selinger said. "Go a real long way and I’m speaking personally and professionally, to relieving allergy symptoms. They are safe they are non-habit forming and you can be instructed on how not to overuse them," he said.

Experts suggest people start treating now.

"Typically we advise people to start their treatments really towards the end of February so definitely now if you haven’t yet I would get started if you have tree pollen allergy. Starting your medications, really making sure that you minimize exposure on high pollen days," Kaman said.


Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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