Allergist Dr. Karen Dunn said the pine pollen that people see on cars and in ponds is a sign of more troublesome pollens such as hickory and oak. Grass pollens take over through early June.
"Already, there's a great deal of pollen out -- moreso than usual this time of year," she said.
Many people are new to North Carolina's intense brand of spring allergies.
"Runny nose, sneezing, itchy watery eyes, a generalized itch -- you can be itchy all over from your allergies," Dunn said.
Dunn said it is important to treat the allergy symptoms before they cause more serious problems like a sinus infection or breathing difficulty.
There are plenty of medications for a runny nose and sneezing, but over-the-counter medications are not very effective at treating congestion.
Any symptoms such as tightness in the chest, protracted coughing or sinus pressure could indicate more serious problems and should be evaluated, according to Dunn.
Health experts said it is important to be evaluated by a doctor and treated with prescription-strength medications.
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