VANCOUVER -- Thanks to an unusually sunny April, the daily pollen count in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley was often very high throughout the month.

This comes as allergy sufferers complain about particularly severe symptoms.

“It’s much worse this year,” said allergy specialist Dr. Ross Chang. “That’s the problem with allergies, is that from the outside, a person looks normal, but from the inside they could be really suffering.”

Runny nose, watery eyes and a scratchy throat are common symptoms. Antihistamines usually do the trick, but Coquitlam resident Grace Macleod told CTV News Vancouver that she no longer gets the same relief from a single dose.

“This year has been a bit nuts, to that point that I’m so itchy sometimes that I can’t sleep,” said Macleod. “I want to scratch my neck off.”

Pollen counts in April were particularly high due to the unusually warm and sunny month, say experts.

Simon Fraser University lecturer Cecilia Sierra Heredia points to climate change as the culprit for the increased severity in allergies.

“The temperatures are increasing and therefore the trees are producing more pollen,” she said.

Heredia said that wearing a mask could help reduce allergy symptoms. Not only is it good for stopping the spread of COVID-19, but “it also stops the pollen,” she said.

This year people are even more aware of their bodies, and constantly looking-out for COVID-19 symptoms. They are also spending a lot more time outside.

“Last year many people actually had a better pollen season because they didn’t go to school, many didn’t go to work, and many didn’t participate in outdoor sports,” said paediatric allergist Dr. Joanne Yeung.