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How to prepare for our increasingly long allergy season ahead

As climates warm, allergy season is increasing in length. Meteorologist Michael Behrens has details on how to cope.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Now that spring has returned to West Michigan, so has something else — allergy season!

While many of us are looking forward to the spring thaw and getting back outside, others are dreading the coming rush of pollen, runny noses, sneezing and general spring time misery. 

If that wasn't enough, on top of normal spring conditions around the country, climate change also means that allergy seasons are increasing in length. This is because the number of days in our growing season has been on the rise, which means more days each year that plants can produce and release pollen. 

In Grand Rapids, we have seen an average increase of 24 days to our growing season, and thus our allergy season, since 1970. 

Credit: Climate Central
The growing season in Grand Rapids have increased by 24 days since 1970.

So, what can you do?

Cleveland Clinic allergist Dr. Devon Preston suggests trying a nasal steroid or nasal antihistamine for congestion relief, sneezing or a runny nose. An oral antihistamine can help relieve itching symptoms as well. 

Along with medicine, Preston urges people to try and stay inside on dry and windy days, in order to to decrease their exposure to allergens.

"We all love the air in the evening, especially in the spring, but closing the windows helps keep the pollen out of your home," he said. 

"If you have pets that go outside, actually, kind of brush them off, wipe them off, [and] keep them out of your bedroom because they carry pollen in on them."

As we continue into allergy season, if you find yourself suffering from symptoms that aren't improving, Preston recommends seeing an allergist. They can help you find out what you're allergic to and develop a treatment plan that fits your needs!

-- Meteorologist Michael Behrens

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