NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some people are fighting off the sniffles, but how can you tell if you’re sick or suffering early with allergies?

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reports, allergists say the spring allergy season is starting as much as three weeks early due to what they’re calling “Polar Pollen Syndrome.”

“What we’ve seen this winter was heavy precipitation everywhere throughout the entire country, and that’s causing very robust and healthy roots systems of trees and pollinating plants,” said allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett.

Peggy Elango, an allergy sufferer, said she started feeling congested two weeks ago and might have mistaken her symptoms for a cold.

“What surprised me about this year, I would say, is that I’m starting to have symptoms early, earlier this year than I ever have,” she said.

Allergy symptoms are often similar to cold symptoms. Some differences are that cold ailments are accompanied by pressure, headaches, body aches, fatigue and changes in the color of mucus.

Doctors recommend that allergy sufferers start using antihistamines even before symptoms arrive to help prevent problems.

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