Allergy doctor explains the difference in seasonal allergies vs illness.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Temperatures are warming; plants are starting to bloom – and folks are starting to sneeze.

“We are seeing the season coming earlier now, so by the end of January, we start to see red cedar trees start to bloom here in eastern North Carolina,” said Allergy Doctor Sherif Taha.

Which comes along with seasonal allergies. However, with allergy season starting earlier, it now overlaps with other illnesses such as RSV, COVID-19, and the flu.

However, some distinct symptoms come with allergies that are not typical of other illnesses.

“You have a pattern of symptoms that come during certain seasons, like the spring and fall. Sneezing, itchiness, and symptoms are common. You don’t get much of the general symptoms you don’t get the fever,” said Dr. Taha.

With allergy season starting earlier in the year, allergist Taha says you need to get ahead of the symptoms if you normally have seasonal allergies.

“The best approach is to start getting your medicine a week or two before the season starts,” said Dr. Taha.

Courtney Bradley says her family constantly struggles with allergies but sees more of a flare-up during the warmer months. “It is always hard for us, and we really suffer during the allergy season,” said Bradley.

Bradley says they take several precautions to make sure their symptoms stay minimal.

“We mask if we have to cut grass or be outside a lot, and other times, we’ll just pay attention to advisories about the weather,” said Bradly.

Taha also said prevention is important, such as minimizing your time outside, especially in the morning, as that’s when the pollen count is the highest.

Taha also said that immunotherapy may also be a way for those who have bad allergies to help manage their symptoms.