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    Ah-Choo! Heavy Rain Brings Severe Allergy Symptoms

    By By Gina Cherundolo, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    May 19, 2011, 1:42:37 AM EDT

    Have you noticed your seasonal allergies are particularly bad this spring? If so, it's not just you. The weather is to blame for your sneezing, watery eyes and congestion.

    Hay fever, or seasonal rhinitis, is the most common allergic condition in the U.S., and approximately 35 million Americans are affected by it. Hay fever can also make asthma symptoms worse.

    Tree pollen is abundant in early to mid-spring, and the abundance of rain and snow earlier in the year has led to higher pollen concentrations through much of the country.

    According to NOAA's April State of the Climate report, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia broke their records for most April precipitation. Most of these states shattered the previous records by more than an inch. Kentucky broke its 1972 record by more than 4 inches.

    Since trees in these states are not lacking moisture, the gradual temperature increase has vegetation growth flourishing.

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    As Tuesday's AccuWeather.com Pollen Map shows, tree pollen levels range from moderate to very high over most of the contiguous United States.

    According to about.com, trees most likely to cause your allergies are ash, birch, cypress, elm, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, sycamore, walnut and western red cedar which, as many may notice, are very common species throughout the country.

    The Yale Medical Group advises several things to reduce your exposure to pollen, such as not hanging clothing and bedding out to dry, keeping car and house windows closed and staying indoors between 5 and 10 a.m., when pollen is most abundant.

    Allergies vary from person to person, so even if you're not bothered by spring's tree pollen, summer's grass pollen or fall's ragweed pollen may affect you.

    If you're not sure exactly what you're allergic to, you can talk to your doctor about getting an allergy test.

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