People allergic to ragweed should start taking their allergy medicines, if they haven't already.
In the past few days, Omaha allergist Dr. Jill Poole said, “there has been such a huge uptick in phone calls and patients having problems” with allergy symptoms. “It's ragweed.”
The first ragweed pollen started showing up around Aug. 1, said Dr. Linda Ford, a Bellevue allergist who oversees the metro area's pollen-counting station. By Aug. 15, she said, the ragweed pollen numbers were high.
It's only going to get worse, Poole and Ford said. Ragweed pollen numbers usually peak around Labor Day and then stay high through September and into October, said Poole, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Mold numbers also are high, Ford said, but they were 10 times higher last year.
Ford offered these tips for dealing with ragweed season:
» If you have been outside for a long time, take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes when you get inside.
» Keep your windows closed in your house and car.
» Wipe your dog's coat with a wet cloth after it comes in the house.
» Don't hang your clothes on the clothesline outside. Use the dryer.
» If you mow your lawn, consider wearing a particulate mask.
» Rinse out your nose with a saline nasal rinse.
» If one antihistamine isn't effective, try another one.
» Rinse out your eyes with artificial tears. If you use eye drops, use antihistamine eye drops, not decongestant ones (your pharmacist will help you with this).