Ragweed causing increase in allergy problems - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Ragweed causing increase in allergy problems

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The past few years you may have been feeling like you can't get any relief from your allergies - like they're getting worse and worse; and the reason for that is, they are. 

A little plant called ragweed is the culprit. Ragweed is the most widespread pollen allergen in the country, and lately there's more of it.

The US Environmental Protection Agency says pollen seasons have actually been getting longer and more brutal - they say climate change has "enabled ragweed and other plants to produce more allergenic pollen, in larger quantities."

"Your nose runs, your eyes water, and that's washing the pollen out of the eyes and making the pollen get out of the nose," said James Haltom, an allergist in Mississippi. "But you get all these horrendous symptoms related to it."

The Federal government has been tracking global temperatures for more than a 130 years and says July was the 15th consecutive month temperatures measured higher than average; that's good news for ragweed, bad news for your stuffy nose.

Sandra Weber is extremely allergic to ragweed and has to get immunotherapy shots to treat her symptoms.

"When I get sick with some sort of an allergy, I can count on being out 2-3 weeks. And it wasn't so years ago," she said.

Allergy tests are relatively cheap and can take less than a day to process. Doctors inject a solution of the allergen into your skin to see whether you react.

Ragweed season in the southeast normally runs from August to November. A map from the EPA shows the change in the ragweed pollen season between 1995 and 2015. 

And another from the federal government shows where pollen counts are high right now.

"When we do have warmer conditions, the pollen that is produced is more potent," said Dr. Haltom. "So you have more of it, it's more potent, so it can be an issue."

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