Punxsutawney Phil got it right this year. No shadow for the groundhog means an early spring, and he did not disappoint. As much of the northern half of the United States experienced frigid temperatures for most of January, people welcomed the idea of an early spring (except for skiers and other snow-lovers). But along with an early spring comes budding trees and this year, trees are leafing around 20 days early according to the National Phenology Network. For much of the country, it’s the earliest spring on record.

So what does this mean for people living with seasonal allergies? Apart from the obvious, that allergy season will come sooner rather than later, it also means that the season will be lasting longer. This is not good news for those with Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis. This condition, brought on by pollen, affects the inside of the eyelid, causing intense itchy, watery, swollen, and red eyes. Here’s what you can do to help ease the allergy:

  • Apply a cold, wet compress on your eyelids.
  • Use artificial tear drops to help hydrate your eyes.
  • Change/wash your clothes if you’ve been outside to get rid of pollen.
  • Take frequent showers.
  • Keep windows and doors shut.
  • Keep the interior of your home clean.
  • Avoid going outside in the midmorning and early evening, when pollen counts are at their highest.

If all else fails, then getting a prescription eye drop from your eye care professional will be in order.