By Tim Williams

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s a reason you might be sneezing and sniffling right now. The pollen count is pretty high.

As Tim Williams explains, Maryland’s ragweed season typically peaks the first half of September.

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For ragweed sufferers like Adam Casalena, periodic maintenance trips to the doctor are how he battles seasonal allergies.

“For someone with allergies, I would recommend getting allergy shots,” Casalena said. “At least for me, for indoor and outdoor allergies, they’ve made vast improvements in my reactions.”

Ragweed pollen is the latest problem and current levels are high. People who are mildly allergic may begin to have symptoms. Those who are highly allergic already do.

“The ragweed pollen causes the red, itchy eyes, itchy nose, itchy throat, runny nose and some of the kids, you’ll hear them make a scratchy noise like they’re scratching their throat with the back of their tongue,” said Dr. John R.Bacon, Allergy/Immunology, GBMC.

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It can also cause cough and asthma for outside runners.

Doctors say the season starts about Aug. 15, peaking around Labor Day and hanging around until the first frost. The abundance of rain we’ve had is causing the season to linger a little longer.

“It actually has been a tough year. We didn’t have a drought so everything is growing like gangbusters,” Bacon said.

Doctors are reporting an increase in patient visits and suggest making an appointment if symptoms worsen, medicating sooner to allow time to build resistance and reduce exposure.

“Simply wearing eyeglasses reduces the pollen load into the eyes and after you’ve been playing outside or mowing the grass, it would behoove you to throw your clothes into the laundry and shower and shampoo because you’re literally covered in pollen,” Bacon said.

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To avoid pollen, stay indoors, run the air conditioner and be aware that clothing and pets can bring the pollen inside.

Tim Williams