The 2011-2012 winter has been a rather enjoyable one for people who dislike cold weather. However, the mild season also made way for an earlier start to the itchy season for allergy sufferers. Pollen has not yet been released in New Jersey, but its time is almost here.

According to Doctor Leonard Bielory with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, specializing in Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, the release of pollen in New Jersey should start earlier than it has in the past.

"Pollen will be starting the first week in March," said Bielory. "Usually it's March 15th, but we're already scanning the air for pollen release because of the warm weather."

If the course of temperatures continues on its current path, Bielory said it's even possible to have pollination start in New Jersey by the end of February.

Referring to data over the past two decades, Bielory noted while the strength of pollen has dwindled over time, the length of pollen season has grown.

"It's being released earlier and going later," he explained.

For now, though, New Jerseyans can consider themselves lucky. Texas has already started experiencing its cedar pollen season. Allergists in Georgia said patients are already coming in with allergic-type symptoms.

Bielory advised allergy sufferers in New Jersey to pre-medicate if they have the opportunity.

He continued, "If you have allergies, your allergy season is about to begin, whether you like it or not. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Pollen counts can be followed at