ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL – Before you shrug off your sneezing and runny nose to a summer cold, you may want to think twice. Even though it’s only August, hay fever season is here, causing misery for some of the 50 million Americans with allergies.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, affects as many as 15 percent of adults and children. One of the main culprits is ragweed, which comes in 17 varieties and blooms from August
“A single ragweed plant may release one million pollen grains in just one day,” said allergist Richard Weber, MD, ACAAI president. “Mold spores are also everywhere this time of year and may outnumber pollen grains in the air, even when the pollen season is at its worst.”
While many rejoice when warm temperatures bring an Indian summer, climate change is making the hay fever season last up to three weeks longer. Windy days can also mean heightened allergy symptoms. Wind can carry the small pollen grains from ragweed, grasses and trees up to 100 miles from its source.
To help combat fall allergy symptoms, ACAAI allergists recommend:
- Take medication before symptoms begin and don’t stop immediately after pollen is no longer detected in the air
- Keep car and home windows closed so pollen doesn’t filter indoors
- Wear a pollen mask (such as a NIOSH rated 95 filter mask) when working outdoors
- Limit outdoor activities between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. when the air is saturated with pollen
- Make an appointment with your board-certified allergist to find relief
Trigger avoidance and allergy medication might provide great hay fever allergy relief for some, but not for all. A board-certified allergist can provide effective treatment with medications that may go beyond over-the-counter remedies.
“Allergy shots can provide symptom relief while preventing and modifying progression of hay fever,” said Dr. Weber. “This form of treatment can also prevent the development of asthma and other allergies.”
For more information about insect sting allergy and to locate an allergist in your area, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 5,700 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes.