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      Allergy season expected to be 'intense'

      Spring is finally arriving and that means leaves on the trees, grass turning green and flowers blooming.

      But along with the good comes the bad: allergies.

      Allergists say that while northern Michigan may be behind other parts of the state, the allergy season will be "intense" once it arrives.

      The intensity comes from a heavy and long winter that created a lot of extra moisture for the grass, plants and trees, making them extra healthy this year, meteorologists say.

      They also say the extended winter season has caused plants to stay dormant longer. Once they are able to release their pollen, it will be for a shorter, more concentrated time creating what seems like extra pollen in the air.

      For some, this means itchy eyes, sneezing and runny noses, but for others, it can be more dangerous.

      "If you have significant asthma that is triggered by allergies, this would definitely be much more of a dangerous season for you," said Dr. James McClellan, of Bayside Allergy. "Other problems that people have might be exasperated by their allergies."

      McClellan said avoidance and some of the standard, over-the-counter medications are ways to stay on top of this year's allergy season. If that doesn't work, allergy shots can be attained through doctors.

      McClellan says northern Michigan is about two weeks behind the southern parts of the state in terms of pollen counts.

      Meteorologists say if a frost comes in early May, there could be some relief to turn the predicted bad allergy season around.