PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The trees are blooming, and the grass is bright green, but while it’s beautiful for some, it’s misery for others.

Allergies are worse this year than most, but some of the precautions we are taking for coronavirus may also help prevent allergy symptoms.

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Remember all of that rain we had in January, February and March?

We’re 4.6 inches above normal in precipitation for the year. That contributes to a high pollen count right now.

Plus, allergy Dr. Andrej Petrov with UPMC says the mild winter and early spring brought allergies early.

“I think this year, we’re going to have a longer season with many bad days,” Petrov says.

Tree allergies are winding down, but grass pollen is ramping up and is expected to be severe and last long.

The five-day forecast on Pollen.com shows the pollen count in western Pennsylvania is medium-high or high four out of the next five days.

“Our patients are calling. They’re complaining about their allergy symptoms. They’re saying they’re having increased nasal congestion, itchy, watery eyes,” Petrov says.

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Dr. Petrov says that what wearing a mask to prevent spreading or getting coronaivirus could also reduce your exposure to allergens like pollen, so it’s doing double duty.

But if you’re mostly staying inside like we’ve been supposed to, how could your allergies still be bad?

It could be your dog bringing pollen inside. Also, he suggests checking your air conditioning filter.

Dr. Petrov says, “So the typical allergy symptoms include nasal congestion and stuffy nose, runny nose, post-nasal drip, itchy, water eyes, cough.”

KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen asks Dr. Petrov, “Some of those symptoms overlap with coronavirus symptoms. Are patients calling concerned?”

Dr. Petrov replied, “I think that’s a great question. Some patients are calling concerned. If you have fever, if you have headache, chills, joint aches, muscle aches, shortness of breath, if you lose your sense of smell, you should definitely call me and get tested (for coronavirus).”

Dr. Petrov says allergy doctors are still seeing patients, both in person or in virtual visits online.

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So if you’re suffering, it’s best to get help early because many of the medicines work best when taken further in advance and not as well after an allergy attack has already started.

Kristine Sorensen