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      Ragweed pollen hits high levels, increasing allergies

      Ragweed pollen hit high levels in Northern Michigan and those with allergies have been feeling the effect. Pharmacies and doctors offices in Traverse City have been getting busier due to the high demand for medication to relieve allergy symptoms. Mark Thompson, a pharmacist at Thompson Pharmacy says that things have been starting to pick up the last two weeks with people who have allergies.

      â??I have seasonal allergies,â?? Thompson says. â??I was like, oh wow good I'm not noticing it yet but this weekend I got hit pretty hard."

      Doctors say what causes more ragweed is farming, road construction or anything that turns the soil. With the recent cold springs northern Michigan has had, this gives the weeds a growth advantage and the results have been evident.

      "So when the weed season comes,â?? says Robert Lazar, a northern Michigan doctor, â?? a cold spring always leads to a very bad ragweed season and so that's what we had this year and thatâ??s why so many people are suffering.â??

      Ragweed reaches its peak and stays high starting the second week of August and continues through the second hard frost. The higher the pollen count goes, the more people are grabbing tissues.

      "So there's a correlation with how many people will be sick and how severe their symptoms are, based on how high those counts get,â?? says Lazar. â??So on a really warm and windy day you can guarantee to have quite a few symptoms.â??

      Lazar says that on days that are cold and rainy, pollen counts will be low but on days that are warm and windy, be prepared for pollen counts to remain high. Thompson encourages people suffering with allergies to get on an antihistamine and consult your doctor.

      Doctors suggest getting out early in the morning or later in the evening when pollen counts are generally lower.