Welcome to sneezin’ season and if the recent rains have anything to do about it, this year should provide a bumper crop of weeds, wildflowers and allergies.

Banner Urgent Care is ready to help people with seasonal allergies as well as hay fever, says Devin Minior, MD, medical director of Banner Urgent Care, which has locations throughout the metro Phoenix area.

Minior says it is easy to spot the allergy sufferer as they come to an urgent care for help.

“This is going to be someone who has been sneezing for a few days, maybe they have that post-nasal drop, they are going to be coughing, congested, stuffy sinuses. Sometimes, there may be associated fatigue, even sometimes swelling to the eye and itching to the eyes and nose.’’

Even though plants and trees are starting to bloom, it can be tricky to figure out if hay fever is at the root of someone’s nasal misery, he said.

“Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between seasonal allergies and a viral infection,’’ Minior said. “Often with the allergies, there is not going to be associated fever. Symptoms may be milder than with an infection.’’

This year, Banner Urgent Care centers are treating many more late cases of flu than last year, up to a nine-percent increase in cold and flu cases from the same time a year ago.

Seeking professional medical treatment for seasonal allergies not only can reduce your misery, it can also prevent a more serious condition from developing, Minior said.

“There’s always a chance that an allergy can actually become viral or bacterial sinusitis over time. Individuals with general allergies, if they have hay fever over time can also have some other allergies such as eczema or asthma.’’

Antihistamines are a good course of treatment for most seasonal allergies and they come with few side effects, Minior said.

“Generally, if they are used for a short duration of time, the side-effect profile is going to be minimal,’’ he said. “They are pretty benign.’’