Allergy season is here – and it’s earlier and stronger than expected.

More than 80 million Americans deal with itchy eyes, runny nose and other symptoms of seasonal allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The level of misery people will face depends on where they live and what they’re allergic to, but there are things you can do to feel better.

Pollen counts were high early Dr. Rachna Shah usually starts looking at pollen counts in the Chicago area in April. But she peeked at her data in midFebruary, and saw tree pollen was already at a “moderate” level.

Shah said she believes this season will be longer than other years, assuming the weather remains warm. Experts say climate change has led to longer and more intense allergy seasons.

Dr. Nana Mireku is an allergist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and said “people are pretty miserable right now and allergists are pretty busy.”

There are three main types of pollen that cause seasonal allergies. Earlier in the spring, tree pollen is the main culprit. After that grasses pollinate, followed by weeds in the late summer and early fall.

Some of the most common tree pollens that cause allergies include birch, cedar, cottonwood, maple, elm, oak and walnut, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Grasses that cause symptoms include Bermuda, Johnson, rye and Kentucky bluegrass.

The best and first step to controlling allergies is avoiding exposure. That’s easier said than done when everyone want to enjoy spring weather.

To prevent allergy issues, keep windows closed at home and in the car, avoid going out when pollen counts are highest and change clothes when you get home.

Pollen trackers can help with planning. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology tracks levels through a network of counting stations across the U.S. Counts are available at its website and via email.

The first thing to figure out is what specifically you’re allergic to, Mireku said, and many Americans are allergic to several things at once. Allergists can run tests for different triggers.

Over-the-counter nasal sprays can help relieve symptoms, but they take a while to kick in, so it’s best to start them early, Shah said.

Antihistamines are another option. Shah said she’s seen some patients benefit from switching to a similar brand if one stops working, but said that there isn’t much broader data to back the recommendation.