Labor Day Weekend Ragweed Alert

Lots of festivals, fairs and fun in parades planned this weekend. While the weather should cooperate, Tony blogs about an unwelcomed visitor to the party.

Coping with Ragweed

It’s the end of the summer season and this Labor Day weekend many of us will be pool partying, picnicking and parading. But before you head outside, there is an invisible villain to contend with called Ragweed!

Hope you have a chance to read my late August blog on the coming of ragweed season. Now tonight, I offered an allergy report on Friday’s First at 5 with Bill and Carrie that focused specifically on the heart of ragweed season.

Basically, ragweed is in a full pollinating frenzy these days which means big time trouble for “some” hay fever sufferers. For those who do feel ragweed’s itchy and dripping clutch, the lost days of work and school are nothing to “sneeze” about!

Since we are just now getting thru a wet spring and summer, ragweed is especially tall and hardy this year. Add it up and a nasty 4 weeks or so of wheezing and sneezing are ahead for those who suffer from ragweed generated seasonal allergic rhinitis (doctor’s lingo for hay fever).

Given the enhanced risk of swine flu this season, I think it is especially important that hay fever sufferers can distinguish between allergies and the flu. I leave it to your doctor to be more specific on flu symptoms. But in tonight’s blog I offer the expertise of Dr. Chandra Kumar of the Asthma and Allergy Center in Charleston on seasonal allergies. I also call upon a professional golfer, Jill McGill, to talk about how she copes with hay fever on the course. Jill finished in the top 100 on tour this year.

How to Cope

1. Take your antihistamine as prescribed by your doctor. Chandra says many over the counter medications like Claritin are effective with minimal side effects (drowsiness, dry throat etc.)

2. If you suffer from asthma, a steroidal spray may be more effective in keeping your lungs free of allergens.

3. An air conditioned/air filtered environment is best. Breathing in fresh air is not recommended, so sleep with the windows closed and drive with the AC on too.

4. After being outside, change your clothes and take a shower in order to wash your hair and clothes of pollen that will have clung to you. If you do not shower, at least damp mop your head.

Last year, I had the privilege of working with LPGA touring pro Jill McGill and her press agent Andrea Waller on my annual ragweed story. Jill has teamed with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to educate fellow hay fever sufferers on her battle on the course with allergies.

Here are a few links to learn more about allergies thru the experiences of Jill.

What about the Mucus of Allergies?

I suffer from grass pollens in May and June and can tell you that the mucus or phlegm from my nose/throat comes out clear when I have hay fever. Clear means allergies.

Conversely, I am prone to one or two brushes with bronchitis every fall-winter. The tightness in my chest then distinguishes itself from the seasonal allergy problem.

More importantly, the mucus of phlegm that comes up when I have bronchitis is discolored often a nasty green or even faint orange.

Again given the increased risk of contracting Swine Flu this year, please consult your doctor when you develop any abnormal symptoms this fall and winter.
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