Reppert said conditions typically are worse in late August toward September across the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.
“It’s already starting off pretty strong,” Reppert said. “It’s been a high season so far, and we’re expecting that to continue.”
Reppert said the rainfall has been especially high in the eastern half of the nation, and that helps to bring moisture to all pollen-producing plants. Maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that most of the country has recorded rainfall much above average this year, with some states such as Illinois, Ohio, and West Virginia having the highest levels ever recorded.
July brought some of the highest temperatures on record across the country, Reppert says. Much of the Southeast has recorded above-average temperatures, while Florida has the hottest weather ever recorded from January to July this year, NOAA maps show.
“From the Plains onto the East, we’re expecting the warm conditions to continue, and temperatures will be slower to drop off,” Reppert says.
Ragweed allergy symptoms can vary widely — from mild discomfort to sinus infections, Fineman says. Common symptoms are sneezing, a runny nose, congestion, headaches, irritated eyes, and an itchy throat. It can also affect energy levels, he says. There are 17 varieties of ragweed.
People who have allergies can ease the effects, he says. Doctors say the first step is to cut back on exposure by avoiding outdoor activity in the morning and early afternoon. And you should see your doctor for treatment early in the season. In some instances, you may need to see an allergist and have a skin test, so they know exactly what you are allergic to if symptoms are difficult to control.
The allergist can help with a management plan, Fineman says. This often includes nasal steroid sprays or other over-the-counter antihistamines. He says allergy shots are often an effective way of building a patient’s tolerance to allergens.
Unfortunately, Fineman says, there are no signs that the intensity of ragweed season will let up anytime soon.
“The fact is that the climate seems to be warming now,” he says. “And that’s causing ragweed counts to be more potent.”