Mild winter, wild allergies in mid-March

March 13, 2012 2:40:07 PM PDT
Spring has sprung -- at least for the week, as has the season of watery eyes and runny noses.

"I'm in total heaven right now; it's so beautiful," Robin Fine said. Fine, like so many other people, was outside Tuesday enjoying the warm weather -- and the promise of a glorious week to come.

"In March and the weather is like in the 70s is awesome," Luisa Furno said.

At North Avenue Beach, some people dipped their toes into the water, but no one was as daring as Eli, the dog.

"I think he's enjoying it more than I would," Basil Tydings said of Eli's romp into Lake Michigan. "No, I can barely do it on August."

But budding trees and spring flowers also bring with them an early start to the allergy season.

"I take preventive measures. I've been taking Zyrtec so I know when things are going to get bad," Marty Quander said.

Dr. Joseph Leija is an allergist at Melrose Park's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. Every day during the allergy season he goes up to the 6th floor roof to perform the only official allergy count for the Midwest. This is the earliest he's ever started.

"They are going to suffer more. Many patients are saying 'I never have trouble this time of year, but now I'm sick, I have runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes... Miserable,'" Dr. Joseph Leija, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

Miserable -- but worth it to allergy sufferer Barbara Kronish.

"I don't mind sneezing when I get days like this," Kronish said.