CHICAGO (WLS) --Spring is here and the signs are everywhere from the buds on the trees to the itchy, watery eyes. For people with seasonal allergies, the sneezing and suffering has begun.
"I am miserable," said Victoria, who suffers from allergies. "As you can see, my eyes are watering up. Yeah, I'm miserable right now."
The suffering is reflected in the allergens that are being monitored by allergist Dr. Joseph Leija.
Starting Monday, Leija will make daily morning treks to the roof of Gottelib Hospital in Melrose Park to take readings on pollen and other things that might make you sneeze.
He said this season is gearing up to be the worse than normal.
"Usually around this time of year, the count is mild, but really, right now, the first count was a moderate count for tree pollen," Leija said.
He attributes that to climate change.
The increase in temperatures means plants produce more pollen, he said, and that makes for a longer, more intense allergy season.
"I have eye allergies and it seems like in the spring it's especially bad and this spring has been so off and on with the weather, that my allergies have been off and on, too," said Neil Elder.
Dr. Christopher Codispoti, an allergist immunologist at Rush University Medical Center, said many people who come down with symptoms this time of year often confuse allergies with a cold.
"If you feel like it's mostly eyes and nose and you feel fine otherwise, that's probably allergies," Codispoti said.
He said managing allergies is more affective when you identify what you are allergic too - tree pollen in the spring, grass pollen in mid-summer or ragweed in late summer.
Leija said over-the-counter medication can offer relief, but you have to stick with it.
"Many times people don't take medicine because they don't feel like they need it, and really, they have to take it on a regular basis to be in much better shape for the season," Leija said.