COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A new study from Climate Central, a nonprofit research organization telling the story of the climate, found that allergy season is arriving sooner — and it’s getting longer.

“It’s not just this year. It seems to be a trend. As the weather is getting milder and we’re seeing kind of shorter winters with less of those really deep freezes and earlier warm weather, absolutely contributing to an earlier pollen season,” said Dr. Monica Kraft, an assistant professor of allergy and immunology at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

This winter was one of the warmest on record for central Ohio, according to Storm Team 4 Chief Meteorologist Dave Mazza and Storm Team 4 Meteorologist Ben Gelber. Warmer temperatures over a longer period of time increase the number of “freeze free” days, or days when plants can flower and pollenate.

“I used to tell people not to worry about tree pollen until closer to March, and we’re moving that benchmark back by several weeks, and now we’re seeing it already in February,” Kraft said.

Since 1970, the average number of days in the growing season in central Ohio have increased by a month — more than 30 days. That means the allergy season is getting longer too.

“We’ve been able to detect it outside here in Columbus and all-over Central Ohio at least the last several weeks already,” Kraft said.

Tree pollen is the most likely candidate for anyone experiencing allergies this time of year, but mold can be another culprit.

“For some people who are allergic to mold, that can also play a role when things are really damp outside, especially after some storms,” she said.

More than 25% of adults in the US deal with some kind of seasonal allergy, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For children, that number dips slightly — to 19%.

With allergies connected to many other health issues, like asthma, a longer and harsher allergy season could prove to be costly.

“Climate change has played a really big role in changing the pollen seasons all around the world, not just here in Ohio. It’s extending it in both directions. It’s coming early and it’s lasting longer,” Kraft said.

But she called it a “triple whammy” — adding that individual plants are also making more pollen, meaning that there is more in the air, and some evidence points to the fact that the pollen itself is actually becoming more allergy inducing.

To manage allergies, Kraft recommended a steroid nasal spray like Flonase, because she said it “gets to the root of the problem.” But the key to making it work is consistency, she said.

“If you tried it once or twice and didn’t think it worked, it’s worth trying again. Making sure that you’re always pointing it slightly outward toward the eye and not toward the middle of the nose,” she explained.

Other over-the-counter options, like extended-release antihistamines, can be effective. Nasal rinses, spending less time outdoors, and closing windows when symptoms are high are other effective ways to tackle allergies.