This Winter's Harsh Weather Could Make Spring Worse For Allergy Sufferers

(NBC News) This record-breaking winter has left us shivering, and spring will soon have us sneezing.

"We're concerned that it might be more severe for people who have springtime pollen allergies," warns Dr. Stanley Fineman.

Dr. Fineman works at Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, one of the busiest allergy clinics in the United States.

He says all the precipitation, be it snow, ice or rain means there could be more pollen this spring.

"It's been very wet, and with wet the trees take in more water," he explains. "When the trees take in more water they thrive. When they thrive they release more pollen."

Warm, pollinating days followed by cold days, and then warm again, actually makes allergy sufferers have a stronger reaction to pollen the second time around.

"The initial exposure to the pollen will trigger some symptoms and basically prime their allergic immune system to prepare for when it's re-exposed to that allergen, they get an even more violent reaction," Dr. Fineman says.

There's no good model that can accurately predict the pollen count, but if you go off patient symptoms spring allergies have already hit the Southeast.

One in five Americans is said to suffer from allergies and there are nearly four million work days lost each year as a result of pollen allergies.