Pharmacists say over the counter allergy medications are flying off the shelves this allergy season. (KSBY photo)
This allergy season is proving to be a tough one for many people.
Doctors say the culprits are mulberry and oak trees, grasses, and natural molds.
"It's a bad allergy season... people who haven't had allergies for years are really having problems," said Dr. Robert Okerblom, a family physician in Santa Maria.
Pharmacist Bill McKenzie said antihistamines are flying off the shelves.
"We have seen a huge amount of people that are suffering symptoms of allergies. I attribute a lot of that to the heavy rains we had which caused everything to grow," he said.
This week, the Central Coast will be seeing a medium range of pollen counts outdoors.
"People are coming in for much more intense allergies, not responding to the things they would normally use," Okerblom said.
"It's bad. I've got the post nasal drip, my eyes burn, I'm choking, and I feel like I'm catching the flu all the time," said Alma Manriquez, Santa Maria resident.
"You can be sure it's going to be high this year, just lots of vegetation, and it's probably going to continue for quite some months," Okerblom said.
Some people say they need to take over the counter allergy medicine every day.
"I will come out to the shelf to get something and we may be out of it, so we have to replenish it for the next day. We've definitely seen more than usual use of antihistamines," McKenzie said.
Dr. Okerblom recommends store brand antihistamines for those who are seeing a spike in congestion.
"Claritin has a big advantage. It's weight neutral, you don't gain weight with it, it doesn't make you sleepy or dopey. It is really helpful for children who are going to school when you don't want to impair their learning," he said.
But if you need something a little stronger, "Zyrtec is probably the strongest one over the counter beside Benadryl. Zyrtec is a little more sedating and you might gain a little bit of weight," Okerblom said.
Physicians say those who aren't responding to over the counter antihistamines can see an allergist or a family physician for a stronger prescription or a nasal spray.