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Allergy season is well underway here in the Lowcountry. If you've spent a lot of time outside lately and needed to keep tissues on hand, it's likely you suffer form allergies to tree pollen. Unfortunately, with the delayed start to the season this year, you're going to need to keep the Kleenexes in stock.

"We had cold weather for longer than we normally do, so really all it did was delay the start of pollen season," says John Ramey, a physician at National Allergy and Asthma. If you are a life long allergy sufferer, you may have been holding out hope that the long winter would mean a more mild season. However, all the cold weather managed to do was delay the start of the misery.

"Last year we were seeing more people in January, than we did this year. This year we've really been delayed until March," observes Ramey.

Right now we are in the midst of tree pollen season. Oak trees and Wax myrtles are two of the Lowcountry's biggest allergy offenders this time of year. But the frequent rains so far this spring are trying to help out.

"We're getting a few days of reprieve with the rain. The last three days have really helped knock it down some. But over the weekend as it starts to warm up and people are doing the Cooper River Bridge run and at the the tennis tournament, I think we're going to see a lot of people have issues," says Ramey.

And although tree season was late to start this year, thanks to the cold weather, that doesn't mean it'll be any shorter. Which could be bad news for folks who are bothered by both trees and grass.

"There are a lot of people that are allergic to trees and grasses. So you're going to see more of an overlap of those seasons. So the people that have both those allergies are going to have a lot of trouble probably going into April and May this year," warns Ramey.

Ramey says there are some things you can do to help tamp down the effects of allergies. He says to limit your time outdoors during allergy season. And if you do go out, it's better to go out later in the day than it is early in the morning. When you go inside, take a shower immediately to get all of the pollen and allergens off your body and to keep them from lingering in your home. Check the pollen count daily to get an idea of how bad it's going to be outside. Long term allergy shots are a solution that can be provided by a doctor. And help with the research. The National Allergy and Asthma conducts research right here in Charleston.

Image courtesy of WCBD-TV.