Seasonal allergies at peak with late ragweed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Seasonal allergies at peak with late ragweed


DUBUQUE (KWWL) - It happens every fall, allergies perk up in August when ragweed is pollinating. Itchy, watery eyes, congestion's, sneezing, many Eastern Iowan's fall victim to the many side effects.

According to, Iowa is in the medium to high range. The forecast calls for much of the same until Saturday when pollen levels are expected to increase.

Chances are, if you don't suffer from allergies, you know some who does. And every year, come mid August ragweed is at it's prime. This year, due to cooler temperatures, it's a few weeks late.

Itchy-watery eyes, congestion's, running nose, sneezing and sometimes coughing. Sounds like a recipe for allergy.

"Seasonal allergies is an over reactive response of the body to normal environmental things that some people have," said Medical Associates Allergist Brad McClimon.

And this month is prime for "normal" things to bother many.

"Ragweed is pollinating from mid August till mid to late September. So we're right in the peak of our season," said McClimon.

McClimon says this years batch of ragweed is a few weeks late but it isn't stopping the problem. Many patients see him for a solution but they are also seeking the pharmacy.

"It's starting to pick up now that ragweed is king of at it's peak and that really picks up this time of year," said Hy-Vee Pharmacist, Steve Link.

Link says many people suffering from allergies want all day relief.

"They want something that usually doesn't cause drowsiness so they can function through out the day. That's were some of the new products help with that," said Link.

New products like Claritin and Zyrtec previously required a prescription and are now over the counter. But each is slightly different; Claritin is non drowsey, Zyrtec is a mild seducer. Bendryil may be the most effective but does cause drowsiness.

"Over the counter medicines are not without side effects so they're physicians should be aware of if they're taking those," said McClimon.

"Those are people who have athisma problems or possibly old gentlemen with prostate conditions need to check with a physician because we want to rule out that it will not do more harm than good," said Link.

If you're wondering how to tell the difference between allergies and a cold, Doctor McClimon says the biggest indication is the time of year; they are seasonal allergies. And symptoms usually last four to six weeks.

He also said consult your primary care doctor first, then see an allergist if you find no sign of relief.

Here in Iowa when it comes to allergens there is one that tops the list this time of the year.

Ragweed is public enemy number one in the Hawkeye State. It flourishes in the midwest. The ragweed allergy is also known as hayfever.

The plant only lives for one season. But during that period it can produce up to one billion pollen grains. After mid-summer, ragweed flowers mature and release all that pollen into the air. Oh by the way, there are 22 different types of ragweed growing in the wild.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
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