MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The flowers may not be in full bloom, but their predecessor sure has arrived. Pollen is here.

We are seeing medium to high numbers of pollen for Wednesday and Thursday, and levels will continue to rise Friday, peeking on Saturday. Maple, Elm, and Poplar trees are the source.

Even though flowers are still limited in the Upper Midwest, spring has sprung at Leightner’s Nursery in St. Paul.

Jolene Olson is dreaming of spending summer days in her garden with her daughter.

“I’m just getting a little excited about spring, and probably shopping for flowers too early, but I’m doing it anyways,” Olson said.

She may love the great outdoors, but she is not a fan of the side effects.

“For me it’s allergies, hay fever,” Olson said. “Weepy eyes, itchy ears, itchy eyes, sneezing, the whole thing.”

Ragweed (credit: CBS)

These symptoms are very familiar to the nurse practioners at the Virtuwell online health clinic in St. Paul.

“Itchy nose, runny nose, itchy eyes. Not surprising with how the weather has really changed in Minnesota lately,” said Jennifer Schomaker, DNP.

She and her colleagues receive a list of symptoms patients themselves fill out online, and then develop a plan.

“We can help them sort through what they should be taking, and other things that they can do that aren’t medication-based that are environmental,” Schomaker said. “Determine if they can be treated successfully, and when they need to be seen in clinic.”

Olson uses a nasal spray to power through, refusing to let the pollen wilt a well-deserved spring.

“I like to garden, and the beauty of the flowers outweighs the cost of the miserable allergies, I guess,” Olson said.

There is not much you can do outside, but you can calm your allergies inside your home by changing your air filter, changing your bedding and washing your pets more often.

Limit scented products like candles, and, this is a tough one, limit the amount of time you leave your windows open.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield


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