COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Allergy sufferers in the South need to get ready for the peak of ragweed allergy season.
Hot and wet days mean the worst of fall allergies according to Dr. Robert Chrzanowski with the Allergy Center at Brookstone.
Chrzanowski says ragweed season started in late August for Columbus, which is earlier than usual. Ragweed produces most pollen in mid-September.
Latala Cofield said this is the worst time of the year for her 4-year-old daughter, London, who suffers from fall allergies that often trigger asthma.
"She has normal common cold symptoms like running nose, itchy eyes, coughing and sneezing," Cofield said. "Different pollens that come from ragweed and everything else that's in the air triggers her symptoms."
Chrzanowski said it's not just ragweed that causes allergy problems in the fall.
"We're also talking about English plantain, dog fennel, dock mix and even grass," He explained. "This allergy season will go away once we have a good cold frost, and when grass turns brown. It'll go away in four to six weeks, probably in mid-October when temperatures start cooling down."
Chrzanowski said ragweed will be higher in content when it's dry and hot outside. Those who suffer from ragweed allergy may experience common symptoms like coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, sinus pressure and nasal congestion.
"We have to put London on her daily medications, because she suffers from a stuffy nose and watery eyes," Cofield said.
According to Chrzanowski, most of these symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medicines.
"Claritin, Allegra, Benadryl can go a long way," Chrzanowski explained. "There are allergy shots that work right away, or prescribed medicines that we can give to patients with severe symptoms. Ragwitek is a new medicine that you put under your tongue. It dissolves and alleviates allergy symptoms."
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, ragweed only lives one season. However, the plant creates about one billion pollen grains during that season.
"The majority of the ragweed allergy patients are allergic to pollen in the spring as well," Chrzanowski said. "But there's a good number of people who just have the fall allergy or just the spring allergy. Not everybody has the second wave of allergies, but it's important to see a doctor for accurate treatment if you are suffering from these symptoms."