By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Sneezing, headaches and watery eyes.

Many people are suffering from more severe allergies than in years past, and one local doctor says climate change may be the culprit behind this year’s harsher allergy season.

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Dr. Salima Thobani, an allergist with Kaiser Permanente in the South Bay, says the combination of warming temperatures and higher levels of carbon dioxide are causing allergy season to arrive earlier and are leading to a greater percentage of pollen that is potentially more aggressive.

She says she has patients who experience seasonal allergies as early as January.

Rodney Villanueva, a Los Feliz math teacher who loves the outdoors and is being treated by Thobani, says his allergies only started as an adult and have had a huge impact on his health.

“This season just has been horrible, congestion, watery eyes, puffy eyes,” he said. “It’s just taking a toll on my sleeping patterns.”

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According to Thobani, studies show allergy season has increased by an average of 20 days since 1990.

“So, two decades from now, you’re probably going to see that double,” she said.

And that increase could mean more serious health complications for some.

“People have allergic asthma, and asthma can be life-threatening when it goes down to your lower airways,” Thobani said.

And, Thobani says, a lot of kids suffering from allergies tend to have problems sleeping that then affect their ability to learn.

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She suggests people take of their shoes, change their clothes and wash their hands and faces when they get home, use an air purifier and keep their windows rolled up in the car to mitigate the impact of allergens.