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Allergy season: What to know

According to the Clinical Research Institute, tree pollen is currently at a high level in Minneapolis.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minnesota — If your allergies are acting up, you're not alone.

According to the Clinical Research Institute, tree pollen is currently at a high level in Minneapolis. Earlier Monday, it was at a "very high" level. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology said the top three species were oak, birch and ash.

Sam Menge of Golden Valley has been dealing with allergies for the past couple of months.

"Lots of coughing and sneezing and runny noses. It's been, yeah, definitely more than I've ever experienced in the past I'd say," Menge said.

A Hennepin Healthcare spokesperson said right now they're seeing an increase in allergy patients.

"Pretty much since the beginning of April we've seen a lot of tree pollens in the air and we're seeing that all the way through April and May. Very soon we're going to start seeing grass pollens bothering people with itchy eyes, a lot of congestion and so forth," said Dr. John Sweet, division director of Allergy and Immunology at Hennepin Healthcare.

Dr. Sweet said tree pollen will continue through May and into June. Then from early June to mid-July, it'll be grass pollen season. Weed pollen is present from mid-June until a hard frost occurs, according to CRI.

Rain over the weekend may have contributed to a spike in pollen counts.

"When we're having a lot of rain and moisture, that really promotes a lot of pollens to be released into the air. And if we have strong winds, like we've had today... that too spreads the pollens miles and miles away," Dr. Sweet said.

For those who can't tell if they have a cold or if it's allergies, Dr. Sweet said cold symptoms typically last 3-7 days and can include a low-grade fever. Dr. Sweet said people with allergies won't have that fever and symptoms can last weeks or even months at a time.

Nasal sprays and medications can help with allergy relief, as well as allergy shots.

"Allergies are just the body's immune system overreacting to things it should ignore and with allergy shots, we teach the body to not react to these things," Dr. Sweet said. "So we end up having less inflammation, less sinus congestion, less drainage, less itch and sneeze."

Dr. Sweet said those suffering from allergies should try to keep the outside out of their homes. That includes closing windows to keep pollen out and removing pollen by showering before bed, cleaning bed sheets and bathing pets.

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