BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Trees are pollinating and allergy season is in full swing.

Medical experts tell CBS 42 that allergy season in Alabama generally starts mid-February. So, for those prone to allergies preparation is key now rather than later.

Ear, nose, and throat doctor, Jack Aland, said typical allergy symptoms include sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and stuffy or runny noses.

He said there are several over the counter medications and nasal sprays available- antihistamines can help block the reaction.

Dr. Aland says for some, especially those with asthma, allergies can have a more significant effect. In this case some may require hospital visits or allergy shots.

Beyond medication, obtaining air filters and keeping your windows shut at home can help block outdoor triggers like pollen.

“You can also do saline irrigation,” said Dr. Aland. “You can get the little squeeze bottles with saline to flush out your nose, that does wash out your nose with allergies too and that’s good non- drug way to control your allergies.”

Doctors also tell CBS42 pollen is already present. They said there’s not much we can do to eliminate the pollen, but there are ways to limit your contact with it.

Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis said there is a lot of pollen because of the colder weather.

She also said pollen can be very triggering and it’s important to understand how easily it can cling to you when outdoors.

“So, you want to take those close off,” said Dr. Reese-Willis. “Wash your hair. Make sure that you are showering before you’re getting into bed. You don’t want to lay down with those allergens all over your body, making sure that you’re washing your face, keeping your windows and your doors shut also goes a long way as well as obtaining an air filter.”

Dr. Aland and Dr. Reese Willis says the over all best care is preventative treatment.

“Right now, there’s a lot of tree pollination that’s going on as a result of our mild winter temperatures that we love to have in Alabama,” said Dr. Reese-Willis.

“So, start taking, if you can tolerate antihistamine, start taking that now,” said Dr. Aland. “If you can use a steroid noes spray like flow-maze, go ahead and start that, and just, and use them every day.”

The doctors said there are multiple ways you can help cope with your allergies, but the overall key is awareness and preparation.