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Spokane allergen specialist provides tips for our upcoming allergy season

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring time can be beautiful. But irritating, if you're dealing with a scratchy throat and itchy eyes. On a beautiful sunny day - like today - you most likely want to spend it outside. But if you have allergies, those symptoms might be getting in the way of that.

More than half of all Americans, about 54%, said they suffer from allergies. They're the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the US, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

It's that time of year when the sky is blue, trees are looking fuller, and the grass is looking greener. It is spring time in the Inland Northwest.

But as your eyes bask in the sights of the season, they might also be a little scratchy because it's allergy season.

"Probably the most stereotypical thing you'll see is someone with a dandelion and it's dried out and they'll kind of blow those," said Steve Kernerman, physician at the Spokane Allergy and Asthma Clinic.

That picture isn't exactly true.

"Most of the pollen that people are allergic to and have issues with. They can't see it," Kernerman said.

Pollen not only comes from flowers, it's in our grass and trees. Especially birch trees, you'll recognize it from its white trunk.

While the blossoming greenery is pretty, it's causing some trouble for us and our kids. Who, doctors said, don't always realize they have allergies.

"Parents will usually notice the congestion, the runniness, the rubbing the nose, the itchiness, the allergic salute," Kernerman said.

Doctors recommend taking medication to help your symptoms, and you can also time your day according to the expected pollen count.

"First thing in the morning when pollen counts are a little bit higher later in the day. Particularly, a windy day - maybe that would be a better day not to be outside," Kernerman said.

if neither of those methods help, it's time to give your doctor a call.

"I always like people to think, or to remember, that there are options. There are treatment options, and they don't have to simply suffer through, what around here is, the most beautiful time of the year," Kernerman said.

While allergies - unlike flu and cold symptoms - are not contagious, doctors said it's still a good idea to practice healthy habits, like covering your cough and sneeze.


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