SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Stuffy noses, watery eyes and headaches are all symptoms of allergies.
Spring allergy season has already begun, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people might notice their allergies are getting worse. One cause to blame is climate change.
Dr. Douglas Carlson, Medical Director of HSHS Children's Hospital, says warmer temperatures actually increase the level of airborne pollen.
"Weather varies from year to year, but we are seeing global changes in the earth warming," Carlson said. "We see plants growing earlier and faster, so the things that cause allergies are more abundant in the environment."
It's not just the warmer temperatures causing more problems. Plants need carbon dioxide and when more of it is in the atmosphere, due to greenhouse gases, they thrive.
"We are seeing higher pollen counts for longer periods of time, and we are seeing more people with allergies," Carlson said. "Whether there is correlation or causation, its hard to say."
Some plants can produce double the amount of pollen with higher levels of CO2.
"The pollens that are smaller tend to affect more people," Carlson said. "The bigger pollen, like oak pollen, (doesn't) cause too many problems."
Anyone who does suffer from allergies can do things to reduce the impact pollen has. People should avoid touching their eyes and mouth after spending time outside, or take an over-the-counter antihistamine.
"Go outside and enjoy it but when you come in, make sure you change your clothes and take a bath if you have bad allergies," Carlson said.