A Longer Allergy Season

1 decade 11 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, October 24 2007 Oct 24, 2007 Wednesday, October 24, 2007 6:13:56 PM CDT October 24, 2007 in News

With the changing colors of fall, allergy sufferer Karen McGee hopes to see her symptoms change too.

"As soon as you walk outside it kind of hits you," said McGee. "Then your nose starts running and your eyes start watering and for me it makes it hard to breathe."

Ragweed is the leading cause of allergies during the fall. The season starts around August and usually ends in mid-October. This year unseasonably warm temperatures are making the season last longer.

"You need the first frost to kill off the plant life, unfortunately, so when the trees go, the ragweed will go, and all the pollen will go with it, and allergy season will officially be over as far as pollen is concerned," said Dana Evans, an MU respiratory therapist.

Researchers say the dry summer caused ragweed to be worse than normal this season. Wind and lingering warm temperatures are especially hard on allergy sufferers.

"On warm, windy days ragweed pollen can travel up to 400 miles from a ragweed field," said Evans. "The best days are going to be cool, rainy days, because the rain helps to keep the pollen grounded."

To alleviate symptoms, researchers recommend allergy sufferers stay indoors as much as possible, wash hands, change clothes after spending time outdoors, shower before bedtime to get pollen out of hair and wash bedding weekly in hot water. Still, Karen McGee will just have to wait until this year's long season is finally over.

"It seems like it has gone on forever this year, and I will be really happy when it stops," McGee stops.

For most allergy sufferers, the end of this year's season won't be soon enough.

Ragweed is one of the top 10 weeds found in corn and soybean production in Missouri. Mold is a problem for allergy sufferers all year long, while grass and pollen are the worst offenders in spring.

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