Ragweed season picks up in Miami Valley

Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 @ 4:00 AM

Ragweed season has begun and might be causing your allergy symptoms through fall.

Ragweed season is here, though allergy sufferers, probably already noticed.

Pollen counts are picking up for the allergen and will continue as the days start to get shorter and nights start to get cooler.

“We’re in that time frame now. Traditionally ragweed season will peak right around Labor Day,” said Brian Huxtable, air pollution control specialist with Regional Air Pollution Control Agency, which serves Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble counties.

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Each ragweed plant produces up to one billion pollen grains, and are one of the main causes in the U.S. of seasonal allergies. About 10 to 20 percent of Americans suffer from ragweed allergy, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Symptoms from ragweed allergy can range from eye irritation, sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat.

To ward off the symptoms that ragweed can cause, Dr. Joseph Allen, of Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia, said it’s good to avoid ragweed if possible.

Airborne pollen tends to peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends trying to take care of outdoor activity outside of those hours when the pollen levels are not at their peak.

“Ragweed is difficult to avoid but avoid it if at all possible,” Allen said.

You can also keep windows closed and take off shoes before entering the house. Allen said he also recommends taking a shower before you sleep to wash off ragweed pollen.

It is good to talk to your physician if you have not only ragweed allergies but also other compounding medical conditions, such as cancer or heart disease.

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He said there are over the counter-medications that can help many people can take that will be enough to help manage symptoms. However, if that doesn’t help, it may be time to ask your provider for help, Allen said.

Storm Center 7 Chief McCall Vrydaghs said drier conditions could lead to an earlier peak of ragweed.

“We typically see our highest counts in September,” Vrydaghs said.

As of today, she said their pollen counter is measuring ragweed at moderate levels for the Miami Valley.

Huxtable said the regional agency is seeing similar pollen numbers compared to last year’s ragweed season.

Right now it’s still early, but compared to last year the counts looks similar to last year, he said. The public can see what weed pollen counts are like and what the air quality is like in the area each day by checking RAPCA.com.

After the season peaks in a couple weeks, the season should slowly taper off.

“It will linger into probably September into October and when you get that first hard frost, that’s when the plant will die,” Huxtable said.