Ragweed worse-than-normal this year; likely to take a frost to end it
By Rick Wills
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
In one day last week, eight new patients consulted allergist Dr. David Skoner at Allegheny General Hospital for ragweed allergies.
“We are struggling to get all of the patients seen,” Skoner said of demand during an already tough ragweed allergy season.
The hospital's pollen counter registers levels of ragweed pollen that are double those of last year. And there's little relief in sight, Skoner said.
“Ragweed season usually lasts until the middle of October, until it gets cold enough for a first frost. So this could be a long haul for a lot of people,” he said.
Allegheny General is the measuring site for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Pollen readings for ragweed at the North Side hospital have been high compared to moderate readings at this time last summer.
Accuweather predicts that ragweed could bring on worse-than-normal allergies throughout the eastern United States.
“I would suspect that people who suffer from ragweed will be sneezing a lot,” meteorologist Tom Kines said.
Ragweed grows anywhere, from river banks and roadsides to desert areas. Each plant is capable of producing 1 billion grains of pollen in a season, and that pollen can travel as far as 400 miles.
Rain since mid-July contributed to a bumper crop of ragweed, Kines said.
“There's been warm weather and adequate rainfall in the past three to four weeks — good conditions for this plant to grow,” he said.
Symptoms of ragweed allergies include congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching and blocked ears.
“It has a big impact on quality of life,” said Skoner, whose daughter Julianne, 20, a junior at St. Francis University in Cambria County, started to develop severe allergy symptoms last week.
“It is like a very heavy cold. This has never been worse for me than it's been this year,” she said.
People can treat ragweed allergies with over-the-counter antihistamines, various blockers and nasal steroid sprays. About 10 percent of those who suffer from allergies get shots, Skoner said.
This month's high ragweed count is not the year's first pollen oddity. In February, the hospital's rooftop pollen counter, which provides the city's official pollen readings, detected pollen for the first time ever in that month.
For information about receiving daily emails from Allegheny General about pollen levels, call 412-359-3217.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Bylsma’s moves — yes, moves — pay off
- 2 key Operation Pork Chop defendants delay pleas
- County still waiting for Versailles bar owner payments
- Penguins rally to escape with a victory in Game 1 against Columbus
- Physical Columbus team is a hit in playoff opener against Penguins
- At least three people dead in Armstrong County crash
- Higher fuel costs help established airlines, hinder startups
- Apollo proposes wide-ranging ordinance on rental properties
- New Kensington-Arnold lays groundwork for consolidation
- Play of the game: Sutter’s goal completes rally
- Authorities plan to withdraw charge against bullied South Fayette student