BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Spring is in the air! And if you’re already overwhelmed by allergies, you’re not alone.

“We’ve had an unseasonably warm late February as well as early March, so due to the fact that we have been a lot warmer than usual, pollen counts have been at an all-time high,” said Ochsner’s Physician for Allergy & Immunology, Dr. Jo Reed.

Reed said she has seen a major spike in patients with allergies, estimating a 50% increase when compared to last year.

“I’m seeing a lot of eye complaints, such as puffy eyes, itchy watery eyes, a little bit more than I typically see. I think it is definitely due to the increase of pollen that we’ve been seeing lately,” Reed said.

And it’s hitting earlier in the year.

“I typically see that a little later in the season. Typically closer to April,” Reed explained.

To prevent reactions, Reed had several suggestions, including cleaning pollen build-up off your car and closing your windows at home.

“Pollen is very sticky so if you have been outdoors. It’s really important that when you come in from being outdoors at the end of your day, take your clothes off, take a shower, and really get all that pollen off,” said Reed.

There are several over-the-counter medicines available, but if that’s not doing the trick, it might be time to see a specialist.

“Patients that are missing work or school or sometimes kids have a dip or decline in their grades during this season due to lack of sleep because of their allergies, those patients definitely need to see me,” said Reed.