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Allergy Season, Sniff, is Upon Us

Gazundheit. Fall allergy season officially began last month, say experts at the National Allergy Bureau.

More than 35 million Americans are way too familiar with sneezing, stuffy and itchy nose, red and swollen eyes, scratchy throat, headaches and drowsiness seasonal allergies cause. The culprit for most allergy symptoms is the pollen released from ragweed — a stubborn weed prevalent along roadsides, vacant lots, fields and almost any other sunny spot. Ragweed blooms from mid-August to October and is most prevalent throughout the Northeast and Midwest, although some form of ragweed allergens are prevalent in all areas of the United States. Each ragweed plant produces one billion pollen grains per average season, and because they are especially small and light, can travel up to 400 miles.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends the following precautions for those who suspect they may have seasonal allergies:

Use an air conditioner and a dehumidifier to keep air clean, cool and dry.

Keep the windows closed in your home and car.

Avoid raking leaves and mowing.

If avoiding the outdoors is impossible, shoes and clothing worn outside should remain outdoors or be washed immediately in hot water.

Shower after spending extended periods of time outdoors. This will remove built up pollen from skin and hair.

Do not hang clothing or sheets outside to dry. They will collect pollen and mold.

Know the current pollen and mold counts in your area by visiting the National Allergy Bureau .

If your symptoms don't improve, see your physician or allergist.

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