LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Expect a spring allergy season like none other. Doctors say we've been getting the kind of rain that breaks up pollen and makes it miserable for allergy sufferers once the wind starts kicking up.
Knowing this, there are things you can do to save yourself from an onslaught of symptoms.
"Growing up I didn't have allergies. My sister had allergies," said Rodney Villanueva, a Los Feliz school teacher.
As a kid, he used to make fun of his sister, Villanueva said. But in his 30s, he felt like he suddenly got payback.
"I specifically remember hiking in Convict Lake with my wife, and then I just had uncontrollable sneezing," he said.
Experts say Villanueva's experience is not unusual, as allergies can develop at any point in life.
"You can develop allergies or become sensitized at any point," said allergist-immunologist Dr. Salima Thobani, with Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center.
And, with the unusually high amount of rain that has pummeled Southern California so far this year, expect to be pummeled with pollen.
"That really harsh rain actually takes the pollen grains and breaks them up into smaller particles that are easily inhaled," said Thobani.
The heightened pollen levels can trigger asthma attacks.
Thobani said the best way to beat allergies is to get to them before they begin.
"A couple weeks before the season starts. Prime your nose. Start your nasal steroid spray early," Thobani said.
This can reduce the amount of medicine you use throughout the season, she said.
"Try to be proactive and not wait," said Villanueva.
Villanueva's doctor also advised him to take over-the-counter antihistamines before the onslaught of symptoms. And, the kind antihistamines you take matters.
"Stay away from the sedating antihistamines like Benadryl," Thobani said.
Another thing to keep in mind is if you like to hike, make sure to wear a wide brimmed hat, to protect from the pollen.
"Wear sunglasses so the pollen doesn't directly hit your eyes," Thobani said.
And masks keep allergens from getting to your nose. Thobani said a cloth mask will work. Just make sure you wash it like the rest of your clothes especially, if you've been near a lot of pollen.
"Take a shower if you can," she added.
Another tip? Stay on top of the pollen forecast the same way you keep track of the weather.
"I just learned about the pollen count. I'll definitely be on that," Villanueva said.
Armed with this information, Villanueva says he's ready to face the flowers.