TWIN TIERS, N.Y. (WENY) -- Allergy season reared its ugly head around the Twin Tiers as early as the end of February. With an unseasonably warm winter this year, the trees have started making pollen earlier. 

Dr. Christopher Smith, MD, a board-certified allergist in Horseheads, said the office he works in has been receiving more patients than usual, and it is not the peak of allergy season. 

Traditionally, pollen season in Upstate New York starts in March. Dr. Smith said this is the time of year for tree pollen. From May to June, it is grass pollen. From approximately August 15th until the first frost, there is ragweed.  

When someone’s symptoms are not too severe, Dr. Smith said there is a variety of over-the-counter medications that can make allergies more bearable.  

“The non-sedating antihistamines, medications like...Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, and Xyzal, are all over the counter and people can use them as needed,” he said. “There’s also some nasal steroids, which are preventative medicines.”  

If someone’s symptoms persist after taking over-the-counter medications, Dr. Smith said they should go to a board-certified allergist. He added they will be able to skin test to finger out the proper treatment.  

“Knowing what you’re allergic to...you can do focused environmental control for things they can find in the environment, we can predict what pollen season they’re going to have symptoms, when to increase their allergy medicines, and we can treat their allergies with shots get them off medications,” he said.  

Dr. Smith said allergists have a main goal of trying to get patients off allergy medications to live more comfortably.