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Doctor Says Ragweed Season Likely to Linger Through October

Ragweed

Ragweed season usually runs from mid-August through September, but the recent downpours from Hurricanes Irene and Lee could prolong the fall allergy season into late October, according to Dr. Alexander Chester, clinical professor at the Georgetown University Medical Center.

September 13, 2011 – Heavy rains dumped by Hurricanes Lee and Irene, coupled with high temperatures have created the perfect recipe for an increased yield of ragweed, according to Alexander Chester, a clinical professor at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC).

“Without a doubt, we’re likely to see the ragweed season extended by at least a month,” says Chester, also an internist at Foxhall Internists in Washington, D.C.

The allergy season that usually starts in mid-August and ends in September could go on much later, he says, even lasting through Halloween.

Tell Tale Signs

Ragweed is the primary culprit of fall allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. A ragweed plant only lives one season, but it packs a powerful punch. A single plant can produce up to one billion pollen grains, which float easily through the air.

“Sufferers are all too familiar with the tell tale signs – constant sneezing, itchy eyes, nose and throat, and stuffiness. It leaves people feeling cruddy,” Chester says.

Getting Help

Chester says individuals who experience such symptoms should see a doctor.

While there is no cure for ragweed allergies, an accurate diagnosis, which sometimes requires testing, is essential for managing symptoms, he says.

He adds that prescription drugs can help beat allergy symptoms while allergy shots can help people gradually increase their ability to tolerate allergens.

The doctor also says over-the-counter medications to treat the symptoms work for many people and suggests a talk with a pharmacist about symptoms and what medicines might be best.

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