Driving down the road or working outdoors now and through fall may prove to be a tougher challenge than usual for those that suffer from allergies.
An abundant amount of rain in June and July has produced an equally abundant amount of weeds and crops and other plants that can cause allergy issues until the fall freeze.
Among the weeds in the area, ragweed has done especially well this year.
“It’s really in abundance now,” said Mark Ploger, Pratt County Extension Agent.
But ragweed is just one of a long list of plants that are out there causing red eyes, runny noses and sneezing fits.
Besides weeds, crops like corn and milo are also big pollinators and when they are harvested, the dust is a problem.
The rain has produced an abundance of CRP grass as well this year and any that has not been mowed will be pollinating.
Anything that produces a seed head can cause allergies. Since the allergy producing plants vary from person to person, it would be a very long list to identify they all.
Allergy sufferers can find relief with over the counter medications. Talking with a pharmacist is the simplest way to start. If that is unsuccessful, then a trip to a doctor or an allergist may be in order.
A visit with a doctor can lead a sufferer to medication that will help ease the symptoms, said Suzanne Hageman, registered nurse at the Pratt County Health Department.
A variety of treatments are available including oral medications, eye drops, nasal sprays and skin creams.
For some, their allergies may require shots and that requires working with a doctor to determine what the allergies are and that can take some time and money, Hageman said.
If the source of the allergy is unknown, an allergist can do skin tests to and that can take a long time. Family physicians don’t do skin testing but they can alleviate symptoms with medication.
Skin tests can be given weekly for five years and that is tedious and expensive.
Once the cause of the allergy is determined and the shot determined, it is important that the person follow the course of injections.
“People do see a difference when they miss a shot,” Hageman said.
The County Health Department gives 40-plus allergy shots a month. However, an allergist has to prescribe the shots before they can be given so a person can’t just walk into the health department and ask for an allergy shot.
Besides medications, there are a number of things a person can do survive the allergy season.
Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director, allergy and asthma care of New York offers the following suggestions on the Dr. Oz Show website:
Use cool eye compresses to reduce allergy symptoms; wear big sunglasses to block pollen especially on windy days; wash eyelids gently and shampoo hair in the evening if outside on high pollen days; change clothes before entering the bedroom to reduce pollen amounts; wear a wide brimmed hat to keep pollens off the top of the head; pollen can stick to hair gel so don’t use it during allergy season; consider exercising indoors when pollen counts are high; wear a pollen mask and use gloves when gardening; don’t line dry clothes on high pollen count days; start allergy treatment early; get shots.