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Pollen levels in Edmonton on the rise with warmer weather in forecast

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It's been a wetter spring in the Edmonton area than last year, with the city in bloom because of it.

All that growing is leading to itchy eyes and runny noses for people who suffer from seasonal allergies.

But while this year may be a bad one for pollen levels, there are several options to keep sneezing at bay.

Pollen levels in Edmonton are expected to go up this weekend as the weather gets warmer, says University of Alberta allergist Harissios Vliagoftis.

Some locals who spend time outside are finding their allergies are flaring up, including dog owner Ayla Gogol.

"Definitely the itchy watery eyes ... the runny nose," Gogol told CTV News Edmonton on Thursday at the Terwillegar dog park, where poplar fluff is noticeable after a couple of weeks of wet weather kept it at bay.

"I personally get really itchy on the skin and everything as well, and I’ve noticed it’s been really bad this year."

Treating the symptoms is straightforward, says Shawn Liu of Windermere's Access Pharmacy in Edmonton's southwest.

Liu offers a range of options, starting with over-the-counter antihistamines.

"They are very safe, and they can be used for a long period of time," Liu told CTV News Edmonton.

"Keep in mind they work better if you take them on a daily basis for prevention."

If such antihistamines don't work, doctors and pharmacists can prescribe slightly different ones or offer treatments that target specific symptoms.

"If nasal congestion is their main problem, we often go to a nasal saline rinse, or a nasal cortical steroid, which provides better relief," Liu said.

It's usually enough for most allergy sufferers to get outside and at least tolerate the pollen.

The Weather Network's allergy forecast, which uses data collected near the Edmonton airport, is listing pollen levels as 'moderate' through the weekend, specifically for pine trees and grasses.