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Allergies respond

Lawton_You've noticed the cooler temperatures but many of you may also have noticed runny noses and sneezes.  Fall is here and allergies are back.

Dale Smith, an allergy specialist, says many people are affected by mold allergies, and he says the mold counts went up the past few days.

It's related to the weather, but not the rain.

Mold needs moisture to grow and reproduce, but rain doesn't cause the growth.

"When the barometric pressure drops in front of a cold front, for example one that's coming from the northwest, what ends up happening is that the mold colonies tend to sporulate," Smith said.

So the weather shift causes the rain and the mold growth.

They launch their spores into the air, and that's what gets into your eyes, nose, and lungs.

"About 20 percent of the population has an allergy to mold," Smith said.  "That may not cause runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing, but it can cause burning in the eyes, swelling in the nose, asthma, polyps, and sinusitis."

Millions more have pollen allergies from plants, and rainy days are good for their allergies.

"If you're a weed tree and grass type of person you're going to have a little holiday here.  Things generally won't be too bad for you because there will be enough rain to wash the things out of the air and that type of thing."

However, the rain will help vegetation grow, so pollen from weeds, trees, and grass will soon increase and people with those allergies should be ready with antihistamines, other medications, and plenty of tissues.

Smith says one key thing you can do is to simply stay inside--minimize time outdoors.

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