Spring allergy season just around the corner

CREATED Apr 1, 2014 - UPDATED: Apr 1, 2014

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MILWAUKEE -  There may still be a few unmelted snow piles left in southeastern Wisconsin, but soon there will be a lot more green, and that means spring allergies. 

That's not the most welcome news to Jeff Blankfield. “When the pollen's really hitting hard, I'm getting runny noses, sore throat, coughing, the extreme.”

But the pollen hasn't popped yet, partially thanks to the cold that Blankfield is escaping from today while visiting the Mitchell Park Domes.  But just because the land doesn't look this lush, doesn't mean Jeff and others are safe from sneezing and suffering through allergy symptoms.

“Usually the first few weeks of the spring pollen season is really not our pollens,” Dr. Gary Steven at Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka. 

Allergens and pollen in the warmer states ride winds from the south right into Wisconsin, bringing problems to residents before the season even begins, “People can be very, very miserable but then the next day when the weather system changes and the north winds push that all back down, then it's just gone.  And that's the surest sign that it’s not our pollen, when you see the day to day difference,” Dr. Steven explains.

But soon the wind direction will not matter so Dr. Steven and his staff began collecting pollen samples on the roof of their building today, “One of the big pieces of that puzzle is knowing what’s in the air and the best way to do that is to get up there and measure it.”

They will keep track of the daily pollen count for the next six months to help diagnose and treat those suffering from allergies and allow Dr. Steven to spot trends, “There's really no predicting what's going to happen, the only thing is to look at history, which is why I do the pollen count, this is shaping up more like last year.  Last year, spring took a long time and we had a really bad tree season in May and it's looking like that's what we might have this year as well.”

Which may mean a stifled sniffle season until then and Jeff is okay with that, “I would appreciate that, you know, if you bring out the pollen, I get days off work but no pollen: I'm good to go.”

Allergy sufferers can look forward to days with light winds, higher humidity, and precipitation since those help lower the pollen count and reduce symptoms.  If the weather isn't as cooperative, Dr. Steven advises taking a shower before bed, limiting your time outdoors and keeping windows closed, especially in the morning.  If your allergy symptoms become too severe you should see a doctor or specialist.