Knoxville,TN (WVLT) -- Let the flowers bloom and the sniffles begin.
Springtime in east Tennessee is long awaited after months of cold, but often dreaded by those with spring allergies.
"It's pretty typical right now, bradford pear obviously, elm, cedar and maple pollens," says Nurse Practitioner Craig Montgomery about the allergens right now, "They are at high to very high levels," he says.
There are dozens of cough, cold and allergy medications on the market, both prescription and over the counter, so how do you know what's right for you?
Montgomery says studies have long shown you should ask your provider about nasal sprays.
There are old tried and true products but some of the newer ones, like Astapro, are providing improved relief. "It is suppose to be a little more affective and has removed a bitter taste people complained about," says Montgomery.
Another OTC that's hardly new, it was around last allergy season and before that available by prescription, is Zyrtec. "It's a good oral antihistamine, like Claratin bit not as sedating as first generations like benadryl," explains Montgomery.
With times tough what if you just can't afford brand name relief?
As long as the active ingredients are the same Montgomery says it's no problem. "The generics will be as affective as name brand," Montgomery says.
There are some preventative measures you can take before your first sniffle.
Montgomery says if you know you are allergic to something start taking allergy medications weeks in advance and then through out the season.
If you are extra sensitive wear a mask when outdoors and avoid opening windows on these tempting breezy days.
If all else fails, Montgomery says testing for allergy shots may be your only relief. "Generally we will tell folks when it starts affecting your life, not controlled by OTC medications, or problems where missing work or school that needs to be addressed."
Montgomery adds that if medications aren't effective, allergy shots may be the only solution.
An allergist can offer skin testing to determine what specific allergens you are sensitive to.