Jeff Angileri
Apr 28, 2009, 5:18 PM

Flowers and trees are starting to bud and bloom, and that means millions of people are beginning to suffer from spring allergies.

If you're experiencing itchy red eyes, a stuffy nose, and you're short of breath, it's likely the newly released tree pollen is getting to you.

The bad actors are hickories, birches, maples, elms, oaks, poplars. They kind of go off in two week bursts, one after the other, just like fireworks, said Reid Olson, M.D., with Dean Health System.

But this is only the beginning. Grass season starts around Memorial day. And by the end of July, mold spores and ragweed allergens fill the air.

There are effective ways to treat seasonal allergies. Over the counter non-drowsy antihistamines can ease symptoms, as well as prescription nasal sprays. Doctors say allergy shots are still one of the most effective and economical ways to treat allergies. Insurance companies usually cover part or most of the cost.

They can't cure, necessarily, but they can reduce a person's symptoms and hold them as such for a long period of time, said Dr. Olson.

On days when allergy symptoms are overwhelming, doctors say the best advice is to stay indoors.