Contact: Brian Huxtable 937-225-5931 August 30, 2017
Jenny Marsee 937-496-7540
For Immediate Release
Protect Yourself from Ragweed Allergies this Fall
Each year millions of Americans suffer from hay fever. Public Health’s Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA) wants you to know there are things you can do to reduce your exposure to pollen and mold spores which cause allergies.
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, occurs in susceptible individuals when airborne pollen and mold spores are inhaled. These substances are completely harmless to the non-allergic individual. The pollens that cause seasonal hay fever are primarily produced by trees in the spring, grasses in early summer, and ragweed in late summer.
Symptoms of hay fever include spasms of sneezing, a stuffed-up, runny, itchy nose, itchy and swollen eyes, and itching and mucus in the throat. For many people in the Miami Valley, these symptoms start each year in mid-August.
Ragweed is found in abundance in the Miami Valley and is the major cause of hay fever in the Dayton/Springfield area. As Fall approaches, shorter days and longer nights stimulate pollination in the ragweed plant. This results in a continuing emergence of ragweed pollen from August to October. The first hard frost kills ragweed and usually ends the season for most sufferers.
Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County’s Medical Director, Dr. Michael Dohn explains, “The severity of hay fever depends on the amount of pollen in the air and a person’s sensitivity. On cloudy, windless or rainy days, allergy sufferers may have fewer symptoms due to reduced dissemination of pollen. When the weather becomes hot, dry, sunny and windy, symptoms may return in full force.”
RAPCA recommends the following tips to reduce exposure to ragweed:
· Keep windows closed to prevent pollen from drifting into your home.
· Use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.
· Minimize outdoor activity when pollen counts are high. Peak pollen times are usually between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
· Keep car windows closed when traveling.
· Take a shower after spending time outside - pollen can collect on
hair and skin.
· Don't hang sheets or clothing outside to dry. Pollens can collect on them.
In addition to sneezing and itchy, watery eyes, ragweed allergies can also cause symptoms of oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Oral allergy syndrome causes people with seasonal allergies to experience a worsening of allergy symptoms after consuming fresh fruits or vegetables. Itchiness of the mouth and throat with mild swelling are common symptoms of OAS. Common foods that cause OAS in people with ragweed allergy include bananas, cucumbers, zucchinis and melons.
RAPCA helps allergy sufferers avoid exposure to the pollen and mold spores by reading the pollen and mold counts and posting them on their website
(http://www.rapca.org). In addition, RAPCA reports daily pollen and mold counts Monday through Friday to area news media. The readings measure the amount of pollen found during the previous 24-hour period, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
During this ragweed season, or any time you are suffering from allergic symptoms, make sure to see your allergist/immunologist, who will work with you to determine the treatment that’s best for you. Treatment for ragweed allergy may include allergy shots, which are effective in up to 90 percent of patients. If you need help finding an allergist visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at http://www.aaaai.org.
For more information contact RAPCA at 225-4435.