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      Minimizing spring allergy misery

      It's the complaint of the season: congestion, wheezing, watery eyes.

      "Right now, the grass pollen counts are high and we're entering the grass pollen season," said allergist Dr. Bobby Joseph.

      Through about mid-July, grass is the main culprit behind most people's allergy symptoms, which is followed by weeds in the fall.

      "Because of our long winters, indoor allergens tend to dominate the U.P.," Dr. Joseph claims.

      For the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from some type of allergy, according to the Centers for Disease Control, most can find relief.

      "If you have mild allergies, over-the-counter medications are helpful," Dr. Joseph said.

      Dr. Joseph recommends such OTCs like Claritin and Zyrtec. However, if that doesn't do the trick, a prescription nasal spray or antihistamine may help; and there are ways to reduce exposure to pollen and minimize allergic reactions.

      Doctors advise: Take medications 30 minutes before going outside; use air conditioning on high pollen count days; dry your laundry indoors; shower before bed; wipe down pets that have been outdoors.

      Allergy sufferers should also pay attention to the day's pollen count and when it's high, stay inside as much as possible with the windows closed.