Allergy season usually makes it way to Alaska around late-April or early-May. Earlier than that, people sometimes have allergies symptoms from the breakup.  However, it's not pollen that is causing the discomfort. The symptoms of breakup and allergies are often the same.

"A lot of stuffy noses, drippy noses, sneezing and eye problems," Providence staff allergist Dr. Laura Moore said. "Once tree pollens turn green here, a lot of pollens start coming out and we see more symptoms."

Allergies also may trigger asthma.

"We've seen an uptick in some of our more brittle asthmatics," Dr. Moore said. "In fact, our pollen counts this year are actually less than last year’s. Interestingly enough, our pollens peaked on the same day."

In 2017 and now this year, pollen peaked on May 16.

"Last year, our count was 752, where this year, our peak birch was only 231," Dr. Moore said. "Overall, a smaller season. Last year, our pollen was driven by a high birch count. This year, our peak was driven by cottonwood and willows."

To decrease the pollen levels in your home, Moore says in the Lower 48 people are advised to keep their windows and doors closed.

"That's because of air conditioners," Dr. Moore said. "Here in Alaska, we have to open our homes to cool them off. That brings pollen in. At least close your windows at night-- that will help decrease some. Pollen counts are higher in the wee hours of the morning and early morning."

If you are doing outdoor activities, try not to do them in the morning. There are also a lot of over-the-counter oral antihistamines and nasals on the market, too.

"There is something called oral allergy syndrome," Dr. Moore said. "Birch is one of the common triggers of it. So, there are lots of fruits and vegetables and even nuts that cross-react with birch so, when people eat the fresh fruits and vegetables, they can [experience] localized symptoms in their mouth and sometimes, they can have hives, swelling or allergic reactions to them."

If you do suffer from allergies, be sure to take it easy and be sure to wash your fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts before you eat them.

Dr. Moore says the allergy season usually lasts until late June or July and then tapers off.

Questions or comments about this story? Email reporter Scott Gross.

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