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      Global warming may lead to longer allergy seasons, worse symptoms

      Allergy season may be getting longer and worse because of global warming, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

      One doctor in that study predicts that pollen counts will more than double by 2040.

      Officials said because its warmer, plants are pollinating earlier, making more of them, meaning more pollen.

      Grand Strand allergy specialist Dr. Mark Schecker said if warming continues, it's only going to get worse.

      "It's just going to lead to a lot more people being a lot sicker for a lot longer and they're going to be miserable and it's going to affect their quality of life," Dr. Schecker said.

      Dr. Schecker added that he can see with the increased amount of new patients who never previously had symptoms that allergy seasons are getting worse.

      "In the last year, whether it's due to warming or whatever, I don't know, but we have last year for instance we had a very mild winter and we did see a lot of people who didn't normally suffer from allergies coming in and saying they were having a hard time," he said.

      Rhonda Dowley is one of them. She's always had allergies but didn't feel the need to see a doctor, until recently.

      "It's annoying because everyday I have a headache and the pain is sometimes unbearable," Dowley explained.

      The symptoms were so bad, they triggered asthma.

      "About a year ago, I was rushed to the hospital and I literally had to stay a week for them to actually clear me up and then I had to be out of work for another after I got out of the hospital," she said.

      This could be a warning to allergy sufferers as the seasons progressively get worse.

      "It's going to affect they're ability to go to work and be productive and enjoy the things that they like to do everyday," said Dr. Schecker.

      Dr. Schecker said the big message is that you should get treated as soon as possible and as early as possible because that's your best chance of having a successful outcome.