Pollen picks up as flu season stays strong; could be a dangerous combination, doctor says

- A one two punch. First the flu. Now pollen is coming back. One allergy doctor says it's a dangerous combination for people with asthma.

12-year-old Alex Garcia knows all about allergies.

"One time I couldn't go outside because the pollen was so bad," said Alex.

He gets allergy shots to keep his symptoms in check.

"I almost developed asthma and with these shots it's all gone."

But two years ago Alex would regularly miss school because he felt so sick.

"It was a death sentence. I got symptoms akin to the flu."

Alex is doing well, but others with allergies or asthma are feeling the pollen in the air.

Dr. Roopen Patel with Carolina Asthma and Allergy says, "I start getting extra texts and phone messages. That's my first signal that the pollen is out."

Dr. Patel says this year people with asthma are getting hit twice as hard.

"If you get flu, that's a reason to get an asthma attack, excess pollen can cause trigger an asthma attack. Add the two together, now you have this synergistic action occurring in their lungs."

But you can lower your chances.

"Make sure you take your showers at the end of the day. Get that pollen off of you. If you're going to exercise, exercise in the evening hours. The pollen counts are the highest in the morning from 6am to 10am. Sinus rinses. Saline rinses are very effective at washing out some of that excess pollen."

Or like Alex, you might need to get allergy shots.

"I've been doing pretty well with these new shots. It's like I don't have allergies anymore," said Alex.

Dr. Patel says it's just the beginning of the allergy season and according to the CDC, we may not have even hit the peak of the flu season yet.    

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