GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville is ranked number 10 of the most challenging cities for seasonal allergies. That’s according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

I spoke with Dr. Neil Kao, with Allergic Disease and Asthma Center in Greenville, about why that may be the case.

“So in this area, this area is very heavily forested. So that’s why the tree pollen season is very prevalent. In other areas, let’s say you’re in Minnesota or Florida. There are not a lot of trees. So, they don’t have to worry about tree pollen that much.”

Pollen comes from trees, grasses and weeds.

The trees usually produce pollen during the early spring, grasses during the late spring, and then weeds during the fall.

Based on historical records over the last 25 years, the normal peek date for tree pollen is April 9th, while grasses peek May 19th.

Dr. Kao said that sometimes the seasons will overlap.

“In the southeast here, the seasons overlap. And that’s bad. So if you have allergies, that’s why a lot of people have trouble. They say, I made it through February and March and maybe even part of April. But by the end of April, May and June I was dying.”

Pollen season may start early and last longer with no break in between which can lead to allergy sufferers getting worn out.

Having a warmer-than-normal February, which we did this year, can make it start early.

The weather usually affects how plants grow. The combination of daylight, temperature and water.

Of course in the Spring, we get plenty of rain, but that may not always be a good thing.

“So, immediately after it rains, especially after a hard rain, people are like, oh my gosh. The air smells better, it feels much better. That’s good. Except mother nature takes over. You just watered all the grass and the trees. You know what’s going to happen in two days? Oh they’re going to be budding like crazy!”

While our immune systems are supposed to help us stay healthy, Dr. Kao said it can sometimes make a mistake.

“So what’s natural is like pollen. It’s just part of life. And the immune system is supposed to just put up with it…In the case of allergies, it’s a little bit of a mistake. Those people with allergies, their immune system is actually overreacting towards the allergens like pollen, mold, dust, animal dander when it really shouldn’t.”

Many people take over-the-counter medicines to help with any allergy symptoms.

However, if you’ve been experiencing allergic-like symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes and over-the-counter medicines not working, it may be time to seek professional medical advice.

The first thing is to take the pill like you’re supposed to take it.

Then, if it doesn’t work, then you have a problem.

So the best way to beat pollen season is to prepare yourself now. Even if that means pre-medicating yourself throughout the entire allergy season.