MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The start of spring is beautiful in the Mid-South, but for some it can also be the most miserable time of the year.

Pollen and new blooms can trigger allergies.

This year, experts say we are seeing a record early start to the season.

"I have rarely seen anything that's more beautiful than Memphis in May, but we pay for it," Christopher Douglas, of Memphis, said.

With the blooms, come the coughing and sneezing allergy sufferers are all too familiar with.

After a mild winter, plants and flowers are blooming early.

That means pollen counts are higher than normal this time of year.

"This area of the country is asthma capital of the world, because we have so many trees, and there's not a lot of wind here or rain that continuously clears that air out," Susan Parsons Hunter, a respiratory therapist at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, said.

The trend means allergy sufferers should start taking precautions now.

"Before you go to those outdoor activities with family and friends, just try to take that allergy medicine before you go," Dr. Karah Baggett, a resident physician for Baptist Memorial Healthcare, said. "When you are out, be mindful of what you're interacting with so you can start to identify the things that can cause the most irritation for you."

Doctors say the best thing you can do is to see a physician to find out exactly what you are allergic to.

In the meantime, over the counter treatments may help.

"The nasal rinses like the saline rinses, specifically are going to be great for washing the pollen out after you've done certain activities," Baggett said. "But whenever your allergies are already flaring up those antihistamines will be beneficial."

If you suffer from allergies, doctors recommend checking the pollen count before heading outside.

You can also take your shoes off and change your clothes when you come home from outside to avoid tracking pollen in your house.

Regular dusting can also make a difference.

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