As pollen levels spike in Washington, allergy experts offer tips for relief

SEATTLE - Spring is in the air, and as the flowers blossom so do the allergies.

With all the nice weather outside there’s one big downfall: allergy season is kicking into high gear. Pollen count numbers are starting to jump off the charts, according to allergy experts.

“We already have high counts of several types of tree pollen now,” says Dr. David Jeong at Virginia Mason Medical Center. “Right now we have pollen from cedar trees, birch trees, alder trees, and elm trees. “

On Friday, the Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center (NAAC) reported high counts of tree pollen.

The spike in outdoor allergies has many people trying to find relief. Besides using medication to get better, experts say there are other steps you can also take.

“If you’re spending a lot of time outside, consider a change of clothes or washing off, said Dr. Jeong. “When you’re driving around, as much as this can be hard, keep the windows up.”

Elizabeth Erickson, who was visiting Volunteer Park on Friday, is already bracing for the worst.

“It’s hit me hard,” said Erickson. “In the past I thought I had pink eye at one time, turns out it was allergies. I’m expecting something similar to that this year.”

While some people have a difficult time figuring out whether they’re suffering from a cold or allergies, The National Institute of Health says a virus, whether it’s a common cold of the flu, should go away within two weeks, while allergies will last a lot longer.

Allergy experts say following the pollen counts can also help those trying to find out exactly what they’re allergic to and when to expect symptoms.

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