WILIAMSON – This is the time of year that ragweed starts to bloom and it causes many allergy sufferers misery.
Doctors say 10 to 30 percent of people suffer from hay fever, which can be caused by ragweed and other blooms.
This weekend the pollen forecast is putting the region in the high range for ragweed pollen. So anyone who suffers from allergies – don’t be surprised if you start feeling those effects.
Experts say a single ragweed plant can release one billion grains of pollen over the course of a single ragweed season.
Pollen allergies are caused by airborne pollens, which are in the form of a very fine powder released by trees, grass, and weeds as they pollinate and fertilize other plants of the same kind. Depending on where you live, your sensitivity may vary dramatically.
Pollen causes inflammation and irritation in the nasal passage and symptoms include itchy watery eyes, runny nose, itchy throat, hives, fatigue, and irritability. Over 67 million Americans suffer from these negative effects, so you are not alone.
Scientists are unsure why some people have a heightened sensitivity to allergens, but they do know the ways in which the body reacts to increased allergen counts. What you feel when an allergen comes in contact with you is a result of the chain reaction to prevent an attack by a foreign substance. Those reactions cause the annoying symptoms we call allergies. These allergy symptoms, including hay fever, can be made to feel worse by the conditions of the recent weather forecast.
Your nose serves an important function for your lungs – it acts as a filter to clean entering air. Your nose will be assaulted by more allergens if the weather forecast predicts high wind and dry air.
Weather plays a direct role in the severity and length of the allergy season. Weather conditions will increase the amount of pollen production to yield high pollen levels or decrease pollen production to yield low pollen levels.
A mild winter can signify an early allergy season, since trees tend to start pollinating earlier.
Dry, windy weather spreads pollen quickly, producing a higher distribution of pollen, increasing allergy symptoms.
A late freeze can delay tree pollination, producing lower pollen counts.
Experts also say if you spend time outdoors, to wash those clothes and don’t let them sit around in the house. Also, wash your face with water to remove the pollen. People who wear glasses may want to wash or wipe their spectacles too, because pollen can cling to the glass.
(Information from this article came from our news partner WCHS TV8 and FOX 11 and pollen.com)
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)