-- Colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours signal both the arrival of fall and ragweed allergy season, which means itchy eyes and runny noses for millions.
Allergies can be a year-round nuisance, but in the fall it's the people with ragweed allergies who are especially miserable. As the ragweed plants bloom from end of August to November, ragweed pollen counts rise, according to the American college of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Dr. Yasmin Bhasin, an allergist at the Allergy and Asthma Care in Middletown, NY, said people in areas with high numbers of ragweed plants and little rain are more likely to have bad allergy symptoms.
"It has been a pretty rough season for people who are allergic to [ragweed]" pollen said Bhasin since there hasn't been rain to clear the air of ragweed pollen. Ragweed pollen "can fly several miles a day [until] it rains."
But she points out there are plenty of steps people can take to reduce their allergy symptoms.
Bhasin said if people know they have fall allergies they should start to use allergy nasal sprays immediately, which will help diminish symptoms as pollen counts rise. Since exposure to pollen has a cumulative effect, taking steps early to diminish your exposure could help with allergy symptoms later in the year.
Bhasin said during peak ragweed allergy season in September people should take over-the-counter antihistamines and minimize time outdoors if pollen counts are high. If people have to work outside and need to minimize exposure, Bhasin said allergy sufferers can consider using face masks and goggles.
If you end up heading outdoors during peak allergy season, you're not doomed. Bhasin said once you're home be sure to take a shower to diminish the amount of pollen you're bringing into your home. Even if it seems nothing it working to reduce allergy symptoms, just remember ragweed pollen won't be around forever. Ragweed pollen counts often peak in September before ending in October or November once frost arrives, according to Bhasin.