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Allergy season expected to arrive early

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From winter to spring, when it comes to temperatures it seems the Texas Panhandle has seen a little of each season in the past week or two. Just when you think you're out of the woods for flu season, allergy season is there to greet you and if you think it seems a little early for that, you're right.

More than half the U.S. population suffers from them -- allergies.

"I get scratchier eyes, I feel stuffy all the time," said Cheryl Duggan, allergy sufferer.

"I can't breathe through my nose when I'm trying to sleep at night," added Evan Moore, who also suffers from allergies.

After ups and downs in the weather pattern, allergy season in the Panhandle may be arriving ahead of schedule.

"The warmer temperatures, sometimes you'll see the trees, shrubs and plants start to get fooled as to what time of year it is," explained Quail Creed ENT, Dr. Robert Stroud. "I mean, all they're looking for is a base line temperature to being their process of blooming."

Here, it starts with the pollination of cedar and juniper trees, typically followed by runny stuffy noses, itchy watery eyes, and scratchy throats.  Symptoms that are already starting to drive people to the allergy aisle.

"Virtually everybody that comes in has been to the pharmacy and has tried one or more of the medications over the counter," added Dr. Stroud.

There are ways to prevent before you treat by reducing the number of allergens you've been exposed to.

"Simple things like taking a shower and washing your hair, nasal saline irrigations are a great adjunct without any medications or anything."

All to help keep allergies from draining your nose and your life.

"It's not just the annoyance of the stuffy nose and runny nose, but it can really affect your day to day sense of well being and quality of life."

Allergies can also be a drain on your wallet. One estimate shows the annual cost of allergies to the health case system and businesses in the U.S. to be around $7.9 billion.

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