It is that time of year again. It is September  and schools are back in session. And, the fall allergies are starting to creep up on us again. Some people are asking,“What is in the air?” Our answer is weed pollen, and, more specifically, ragweed. Ragweed and the various weed pollens usually start pollinating at the end of August and will continue pollinating until the first frost, which is usually in October or November. Ragweed is a member of the daisy family. In Arkansas, the ragweed species, Ambrosia artemissifolia, is most commonly found. It is an annual weed found growing along roadsides and in fields. It can grow 12-16 inches tall. Some ragweed species, such as giant ragweed, can grow up to 6-8 feet tall.

Ragweed releases its pollen airborne. Its pollen is very small, between 20-50 microns in size. This pollen can float long distances without reaching the ground.

When an allergic person inhales the pollen, their symptoms occur. Typically, our immune systems are designed to defend our bodies against allergens. However, if you have allergies, your immune system is sensitive to the allergens. This causes symptoms such as sneezing, itching eyes and nose, and nasal drainage and congestion.

If you have allergy symptoms this time of year, you may have seasonal fall allergies to weeds or molds. As a board-certified allergist, I can discuss your symptoms and offer allergy testing to determine what specific allergies you have. Treatment options include symptomatic relief with OTC antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays. Allergy injections can offer symptomatic relief and also help alter the disease so that symptoms are alleviated all together. If you are interested in finding out what is causing your symptoms and getting started on an effective treatment regimen, call our office today at 501.673.3030.