Ragweed Season Arrives Late
The third leg of the warm weather allergy season has been slow to come on the scene as ragweed has held back from its normal August mischief. But now that it is finally in the air, ragweed will be throwing a pollen party most every day for the next month and, drum roll please, you and I are invited to the shindig. You see with trees and grasses have long since gone into pollen-making hibernation, it’s up to weeds, specifically ragweed, to make us feel sluggish. Here’s the scoop!
The long, hot and humid summer has forced ragweed plants to hold back their pollination. In fact, the ragweed plants on my daily jogging route don’t look nearly as vibrant or tall as in recent years. In effect, the warm and humid air has put the clamps on the ragweed’s ability to pollinate up a storm.
But one look at the overnight lows that we are forecasting is a dead give away. Ragweed season is here. You see it is the longer and cooler nights of late summer-early fall that set ragweed into a pollinating frenzy. So far this month, despite the lengthening nights, overnight lows have not reacted to the longer nocturnal periods.
This week however for the first time since spring, the First Warning Weather 7 day forecast calls for lows “routinely” in the 50s. Gone this week is the tropical air and in its place a “continental” brand of atmosphere characterized by bright, warm days and cool, foggy night.
So we went back to school and work this week with ragweed pollen in the air and a trend of increasing pollination will lead to a rapid rise in hay fever symptoms right into September.
The technical term for ragweed is Ambrosia, which translated from the Greek means “food for the gods”. In the case of hay fever sufferers that ragweed is “food” for lots of wheezing and sneezing.
The Ragweed season runs thru September with the period from Labor Day to roughly the 15th of the month normally the worst.
Like its pollen producing cousins (grass and trees), ragweed turns its pollen-making factories on while we are asleep at night. So pollen counts will be highest at dawn. That means an early morning jog will be harder on a hay fever sufferer than one in the evening. But don’t be fooled, ragweed pollen counts are high by day and night, they are just higher in the morning.
The good news is that ragweed is most prolific as a pollen maker after dry summers. The bad news, ragweed is so allergenic that even wet summers like this year are bad on ragweed sufferers. In other words there are no such things as “good” ragweed years, just bad and worse.
So ragweed haters take your antihistamine as prescribed by your doctor for the next 30 days and be glad that the season will wind dawn by the time the harvest moon shines brightly.
Here are some practical tips to lessen your hay fever symptoms.
1. Sleep with AC on and windows closed so pollen does not inflitrate into your bedroom. Likewise, drive with your car windows up and AC on.
2. Damp mop your head when you come inside since pollen will cling to your hair which in turn will make you wheeze and sneeze.
3. If you have been outside for awhile, change your clothes immediately upon coming in since ragweed pollen will also latch onto your clothes.
4. If you suffer from asthma, wear a face mask when outside.