SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A beautiful but windy spring day for KELOLAND.

“It is fabulous to be out today. What a pleasure to be soaking up the sunshine and vitamin D after such a long winter.”

Like a lot of us, Alice O’Hara is paying the price for her time outdoors. She has spring allergies. Our bodies detect a threat and react to pollen.

“If you are prone to allergies you develop an antibody called IGE to that particular allergen so when you are exposed to the allergen it causes the release of histamine and these other mediators,” said Dr. Arveen Bhasin with the Mayo Clinic.

Histamines work with nerves to get those allergens out of your body or off your skin. They can make you sneeze, tear up, or itch, whatever it takes to get rid of the pollen. Doctors say the best defense is to limit your exposure. Keep the windows closed so pollen doesn’t get into your home. Keep the air conditioner or fan blowing to circulate clean air. Shower and wash your clothes if you’ve been outside. Another important step in preparing for the spring allergy season is to start medication or nasal sprays before the pollen peaks. Medications can be more effective if they have a chance to build up in your system.

“The number one medicine for seasonal allergies tends to be nasal steroids. They are kind of messy sometimes. They can leave a metallic taste in your mouth, but really, from an effectiveness standpoint, nasal steroids are probably the best medicine that we have,” said Avera Health’s Dr. Chad Thury.

If you are still miserable even with over-the-counter allergy medication, That’s when you will want to make an appointment with an allergy specialist.

“So if you can’t control the symptoms and you’ve been using an antihistamine, nasal steroid, then it’s probably time to come in, especially if you are starting to get congested and plugged up as you get into that allergy season,” said Thury.

In South Dakota, tree pollen is usually highest in April and May, and grass pollen from late May into July.