Allergy season is in bloom

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BELOIT- Had the winter been colder and drier, residents may not have been dealing with allergies as quickly as they did.

Laura Anderson, family nurse practitioner at Beloit Area Community Health System, said tree pollen has been especially high this season, meaning that people with tree pollen allergies may see an increase in symptoms.

She said with temperatures reaching 60 degrees in February, warmer weather may have led to allergies developing sooner. Though the grass is now in place, the leaves on the trees are coming out and the ragweed is beginning to grow.

She said seasonal allergies typically hit with the change of seasons, meaning the spring and fall are the worst time for allergies. Some of the symptoms of allergies include a runny, stuffy or itchy nose, watery or itchy eyes and a sore or itchy throat.

To combat allergies, Anderson recommends first trying over the counter medicine. She said there are some nasal sprays available over the counter. Though nasal spray may protect people from more allergens, Anderson said steroid nose spray may take a day to a week to be effective whereas a pill will likely be effective after a few hours.

If over the counter remedies are ineffective, Anderson recommends seeing a healthcare provider two weeks before you expect your allergies will kick in. She also recommends washing hands often.

"You're already exposed to pollen and air allergens," Anderson said. "You don't want to expose them to your face."

She said sufferers should make sure to keep windows closed and the air conditioner on during high pollen or mold seasons. News outlets will typically mention when the pollen count is high, but she said residents can also take note of when certain plants are in bloom.

"Try to do what you can to stay comfortable," Anderson said.

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