By Caroline Vandergriff

(CBSDFW.COM) – Spring allergy season in North Texas is here, and it may be more severe than in previous years.

“I would say this April is worse than usual,” said Dr. Marie Fitzgerald with Family Allergy & Asthma Care.

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There’s a dusting of pollen on cars, the ground, and everything in between, causing those all-too-familiar symptoms for people who suffer from seasonal allergies.

Allergists say the deep freeze we had in February is what’s making this allergy season more severe.

“Originally, you might think well this is going to kill the pollen for the year – wouldn’t that been nice if that had happened – but it actually didn’t because the snow acted like insulation on the plants,” Dr. Fitzgerald said. “All it did is delay, but it did not relieve anything.”

The extreme weather pushed the release of tree pollen closer to the start of grass pollen season, so there’s just more in the air.

“It’s a very tough time here in North Texas,” said Dr. Swapnil Vaidya with Advanced Allergy Asthma Associates. “The pollen count has been quite high in the last few days.”

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It seems to be making people even sicker, as well.

“Here, what we’re seeing this spring, is people coming in with worsening allergy symptoms that can certainly turn into sinus infections, ear infections, and also asthma,” said Dr. Fitzgerald.

Those more severe infections can lead to a loss of smell and taste, causing some people to worry they have COVID-19.

That isn’t a common symptom for people with typical allergies.

“It can be diminished, but they usually don’t lose it,” Dr. Fitzgerald said. “So when someone tells me they’ve lost their sense of smell and taste, then I do think they ought to get a COVID check to rule that out before we just say it was allergies.”

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Allergists say you can manage symptoms by avoiding exposure to allergens, taking over-the-counter allergy medications, or treating allergies with shots or drops.

Caroline Vandergriff