It's definitely "sneeze season" in Western Montana residents as people who suffer from allergies are really complaining the past week as tree pollen counts have soared, and are likely to remain high for several more days.

This has been an unusual year for allergy sufferers, as the sudden turn to warmer weather more typical of early summer caused all of the trees and other pollen sources to seemingly burst out all at the same time. Rather than having a longer, more gradual spring, we quickly went from wintery, colder weather to the sudden arrival of 80-degree temperatures at the end of April.

Last spring, pollen counts started "high" at the end of April, but moderated thanks to a cooler, wetter spring.

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Even after the first burst of spring this year, conditions slowed somewhat until temperatures began to climb again last week. The windy conditions over the weekend didn't help.

And the forecast is still problematic for this week, as hotter conditions return

Some of the forecast sites reported pollen counts in the "medium-to-high" range, easing slightly to "medium" by mid-week before climbing again by Friday. And it appears likely that tree pollen will continue to pose a challenge into next week.

The University of Montana has an official monitoring station for pollen counts at the school's campus in Missoula.

Common advice to help ease the impact of your outdoor allergies include staying inside when possible, closing your windows and using your air conditioning or a HEPA filter, trying to limit your time outside in windy conditions, and showering and changing your clothes after you've been outside.

If you're not sure what's causing your allergies, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has a useful online tool that can provide some initial information and also links to specialists in the area.

READ MORE: Allergy Season Starting Earlier and Lasting Longer

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