BERKELEY, MO - The arrival of Fall brings cooler weather, changing leaves, and the onset of the fall allergy season. People tend to associate seasonal allergies with the Spring when trees bloom. But there are a lot of folks who only suffer or suffer more during late summer and early fall. The culprits are common grasses and weeds, particularly ragweed.
Plants release tiny pollen grains into the wind to fertilize other plants of the same species. When inhaled by humans, they can cause seasonal allergic rhinitis, better known as hay fever, causing sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes.
Depending on the frequency and severity of symptoms, a person may just need a quick run of over-the-counter medicine while some will need regular treatment or simply have to stay inside in the air conditioning when counts are high.
According to the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, Ragweed pollen amounts increase when there has been a heavy spring rain then drier conditions during the pollen season.
There are seventeen species of ragweed in North America. Wormwood and Goldenrod are part of the ragweed family. Lambsquarter, or Pigweed, is another commonly reported pollen in the St. Louis area. All of these can bloom well into October, so keep the tissues handy.