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Early Allergies

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The fluctuating weather may have caused a strain on allergies.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Julie Salter has been suffering from outdoor allergies for eight years now.

"When I moved to Missouri, I never though I'd have allergy problems," Salter said.

Salter has been dealing with throat agitation and sinus congestion. Unlike a typical allergy season which begins around March, this year, we may be off to an early start. To gear up, many allergy suffers, like Salter, have increased their medication.

"With the weather, the way it is, up and down, and like I said, I noticed the pressure," Salter said. "Well if I keep things moving, it makes it a lot easier to handle. So I take a decongestant like twice a day."

The symptoms of allergies so early on in the winter is leaving many people wondering-- why the early start?

"I think it's been so bitter cold. People have been locked up in their houses, they've been catching viruses from each other. They're exposed to animals they choose to live with. Yeah, it's bad," said Dr. Greg Lux, an allergist at Mercy Hospital. "Then when it gets warm, if you have a mold allergy, you're going to be sicker because of it. So it's a combination of factors."

After cold, snow, rain, and icy weather, trees leaves will rot, further exasperating allergies.

Pharmacist Rex Phillips said he hasn't seen a huge increase in customers requesting allergy-related medications.

"I've seen maybe a slight increase," said Phillips.

For those of you who are looking to stay ahead of the allergy season, Dr. Lux recommends decongestants with pseudoephedrine, but to be cautious in diagnosing your symptoms as an allergy.

"Allergies are very subtle. You don't know if it's an allergy or an infection," said Dr. Lux. "People who suffer from recurrent infections ought to see an allergist and find out if allergies are driving that because it's not something that you can pick up."

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