NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – For many North Texans, the term ‘seasonal’ allergies can be at best, misleading– because sufferers know the misery is often year round… and the typical sniffling and sneezing can be just the beginning.

“I felt groggy, I had very dark circles under my eyes,” says 56-year-old Stephen Souris.  Souris says his allergies had become a quality of life issue– so he opted for testing to determine the source of his allergies, rather than reaching for more medicine to mask the symptoms.  “I just had no energy,” says Souris.

Experts say a mild winter and early, windy spring have loaded the air with allergens– and it’s more than a minor inconvenience.

“It’s the second most common reason for missing work,” says Alfred Johnson, MD, a Richardson internal medicine doctor with a focus on allergies.   “They’re [ allergy sufferers ] getting the additive effect of grasses, trees, and mold, and the more the wind blows, the more the mold count goes up.”

Dr. Johnson says allergies are a major health issue– often contributing to more serious conditions or simply robbing sufferers of a good night’s sleep.

“Allergies do affect the sleep and then you don’t function as well, you become fatigued, tired and mentally dull.”

Dr. Johnson and his staff take allergies very seriously.  Visitors to the doctor’s Richardson office are greeted with a ‘No Allergens’ sign on the front door– barring strong perfumes and tobacco residue that could seriously impact other patients.  Even the clinic’s paint and flooring reflect attention to a patient’s potential sensitivities.  It’s an approach the doctor recommends for anyone battling chronic allergies.

“They have more sinus infections, more bronchitis,” says Dr. Johnson.  “It can increase their asthma, so the whole health condition can downward spiral with allergies very quickly in some cases.”

Following treatment, Souris says he’s feeling better and more focused as he works to keep his allergies under control.

“Like many other people, I just need to be as together as possible in order to accomplish what I need to accomplish.”

And the same goes for his teenage son, Alex, who’s also getting treated for allergies.

“It’s definitely helped in just generally feeling better,” says Alex.  “But, I also feel that my focus has improved.  Looking back, now, I definitely feel like I was impaired.”

Experts say those fortunate enough to experience symptoms for relatively short periods of time can try over the counter medications, and saline rinses for relief.  Dr. Johnson recommends avoiding decongestants at night, which can interfere with sleep.  And of course, avoid those things that trigger symptoms– like the great outdoors. But, that can be a tough order to follow on a beautiful spring day in North Texas.