How to Survive the "Pollen Vortex"

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Is the worst sneezing season yet upon us? With warmer weather ahead (and a polar vortex behind), some experts are saying that that this spring has been (and will continue to be) way more than showers and flowers, calling it the pollen vortex. [Tweet this news!]

In fact, even though you may hear it every year, researchers say that allergy seasons really are—in general—just becoming longer and stronger. But this year is particularly bad: The large amount of snow produced in winter leads to higher mold counts since moisture and melted snow provide added nourishment to surviving plants and trees, says allergist Joseph Leija, M.D., who performs the daily allergy count for the Midwest at Loyola University's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

“We are seeing allergens for trees, grass, and weeds all peaking simultaneously whereas in ‘normal’ seasons, they would peak in stages,” he says. The result: Allergy sufferers are being hit with allergens in a concentrated period.

Why that matters: 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies every year. And if you don’t think you’re one of them, you may be silently suffering and not realize it: “When the weather is more extreme, allergies become more extreme. And concentrated elements can trigger reactions in people who may have never suffered previously,” Leija says. Adult onset allergies, he says, are common—and possible no matter your age.

While they may not seem like a big deal, allergies and their baggage—congestion, headaches, sniffles, and itchy eyes—can make it hard to concentrate, sleep, and they up your risk of respiratory infections. That’s why it’s time to take control of them today. And you don’t need to stop at the drug store to do it! Here, 8 ways to stop allergies in their tracks.

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