By Dr. Maria Simbra

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Are spring allergies bothering you yet?

If not, they could be soon and there are things you can do now to nip your allergies in the bud without going to the doctor.

“The trees will be the ones most affected by an overly warm winter,” Dr. James DeAngelo, of Allergy & Clinical Immunology Assoc., said.

A burst of tree pollen has boosted levels in the past several days.

“Particularly, we’re going to see maple and we’re going to see elm, and we’re seeing the conifers. The junipers, and the cedar family are out pollinating now,” Dr. DeAngelo said.

The pollen from these trees will eventually fade away, but next will be oaks and sycamores.

Which trees and when depend on a variety of factors: number of cold days, number of warm days, and length of day.

“If you’re allergic to walnuts as opposed to maples, they could have a very good season or a very bad season depending on the weather,” Dr. DeAngelo said.

A lot of people see tree blossoms, and smell tree blossoms, and think they’re allergic to trees. But, don’t be misled. These trees are pollinated by insects and have heavy, less allergenic pollen.

The trees without any visible flowers are the ones to worry about.

“They produce smaller pollens, which carry further, and are much more allergenic than the flowering trees. But, they’re harder to identify as pollinating, because they begin to pollinate before they get their leaves,” Dr. DeAngelo said.

Starting medicine before the season starts, or desensitizing shots months ahead of time are your best bet for dealing with severe symptoms. But, if it’s too late for that, there’s help at the drug store.

“Nasal sprays, the corticosteroid sprays, the antihistamines are now over-the-counter,” Dr. DeAngelo said. “If they don’t get relief from those, I think then, it’s time to come in to allergy office and perhaps get some prescription treatment.”

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Dr. Maria Simbra