Mild Winter Leads to Early Allergy Season

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COLUMBIA - A local pharmacist said Thursday the mild winter followed by record-high temperatures has people confused whether a runny nose and a headache means a cold or symptoms of allergies. Bill Morrissey at Kilgore's Medical Pharmacy said he has seen an early spike in the number of people visiting his store for allergy-related symptoms.

Thursday through Sunday's tree pollen count is "high" and "very high," according to The Weather Channel. This continues a trend of high tree pollen count since late February. The spring allergy season normally starts at the end of March.

University of Missouri student Ben Vasquez said his allergies have been acting up for the last week and a half. He said he has experienced a runny nose, itchy eyes and nasal congestion. Morrissey recommended a general antihistamine for those experiencing such symptoms.

While the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends staying inside and shutting your windows to avoid allergy symptoms, Morrissey said he believes in exposure as a means to desensitize yourself to allergens.

Morrissey predicted bad allergy seasons for mid-Missouri as a whole, as the lack of a true deep freeze during the winter means some allergens from last fall could still be hanging around.