(CBS) — Allergy season is officially here and it may be worse than normal.

For the past month or so, allergist Dr. Joseph Leija has been going up on the roof of Gottlieb Hospital in Melrose Park to take readings on pollen and other things that might make you sneeze.

“I go there every morning around 4 o’clock in the morning,” he said.

And now he has something to report: moderate tree pollen, birch and maple.

Dr. Leija says he didn’t think it would be as high as it was.

“I was surprised, yes. A moderate amount of pollen. Always around this time of the year, in the previous years, always it was very low, very low.”

And he thought mold would be higher, but it wasn’t so high.

Dr. Leija, who’s been taking rooftop readings for 20 years and is 84-years-old, expects this to be a “heavy season” for allergy sufferers, based on what he’s seeing so far.

And by the way – over-the-counter allergy medication that promises quick relief? Dr. Leija says it takes 24 hours to kick in and you have to stick with it for it to keep working.