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Mild Winter Jump-Starts Spring Allergies - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Mild Winter Jump-Starts Spring Allergies

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Some 35-million Americans suffer from sneezing, sniffling, stuffiness and itchy eyes due to spring allergies and get ready for a long season. Those symptoms have sprung up early with a vengeance because of our unseasonal warm winter.

For Mary Beth Mathre, she wanted to stop her allergies once and for all.

"It's sad to go, 'Oh, I can't wait until the first freeze," she laughs. "I am allergic to rag weeds, pollens, mold, cats and dogs."

It took 14 years for Mathre to get these allergy shots. At first, her symptoms were nothing over-the-counter medication couldn't take until two years ago. Mary Beth has not walked out to her deck ever since.

"It's one of the nicest things to do in the summer: go outside, sit on the deck, eat out on the deck, it's not something I do," she says. "I can't have my windows open, especially if anybody is mowing the law. The windows have to be shut."

With our jump-start to spring, doctors say allergy sufferers will be sniffling and sneezing several months longer this year. We're into the middle of march and already trees are budding. Once they get to full bloom, pores will be spreading in the air.

Sanford Health Allergy and Immunology Specialist, Dr. Woei Yeang Eng says prevention is key. It's hard for anyone to avoid the outdoors when the weather's this nice..so he recommends patients take allergy meds before symptoms flare up.

"A lot of people complaining right now," says Dr. Eng. "Before you even get symptoms, if you have a hit of itchy eyes, running nose, start using it."

If none of those work, Dr. Eng says allergy shots, or immunotherapy, is a long-term solution -- something Mary Beth says is worth every shot.

"I am so looking forward to the spring," says Mathre. "I'll be able to spend sometime with my grandchildren so they can play on the swing set and I'll be out there watching them instead of watching from the patio door."

Dr. Eng also warns allergy sufferers to take appropriate amounts of allergy medications. He says he sees a lot of patients who overdose on meds if symptoms don't improve. 

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