By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many Minnesotans who spent the weekend outdoors came out of it with itchy eyes and scratchy throats.

Jeremiah Jones, who was playing disc golf Monday at Plymouth Creek Park in Plymouth, said he had some trouble breathing during a bike ride Sunday.

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Ashley Scotting felt some symptoms after being outside Saturday to watch Aquatennial fireworks.

“A little bit of wheezing,” Scotting said. “My eyes are incredibly itchy the last few days.”

Scotting says she’s been taking allergy medication, but Dr. Gary Berman, an allergist with Allergy and Asthma Specialists, says that’s not very likely to fix the issue.

“Pollen counts are quite low right now,” Berman said. “Tree season has come and gone, grass season has come and gone.”

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(credit: CBS)

Berman points to smoke from Canadian wildfires as the culprit. He says Minnesota’s air quality isn’t good right now.

“For the general population, it’s probably mostly an irritant, but for our patients with asthma or COPD or cardiovascular problems, when they have breathing problems, this can make things much worse,” Berman said.

Drought conditions aren’t helping either. Just like rain washes pollen out of the air, it does the same with pollutants.

Berman says try to stay inside if you’re bothered by the air, and hope the fires stop soon so the air quality can return to what we’re more used to.

“We in Minnesota don’t typically have this issue, you know, like in California,” he said. “They have this type of issue all the time.”

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Berman says an allergy scratch test can quickly determine whether symptoms are from allergies or poor air quality.

David Schuman