Heads up allergy sufferers: Ragweed season is fast approaching in Minnesota

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With the peak of ragweed season around the corner, the Twin Cities is currently experiencing medium to high pollen levels, according to Pollen.com.

Wednesday, an allergy specialist outlined what to look for and how allergy sufferers can get ahead of the symptoms.

“You may feel that the summer is almost over, but that is definitely not the case for allergies,” said Dr. Yurly Zgherea, an allergy, asthma and immunology doctor at Fairview Health.

With more than a week left in August, ragweed season is starting to kick into high gear in the Twin Cities.

The invasive plant can be found just about anywhere and can be a pain for those who suffer from pollen allergies.

“Ragweed usually starts pollinating in mid-August and it may pollinate until mid-October depending on the weather,” said Zgherea.

Zgherea says symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and headaches. Ragweed can also trigger asthma attacks.

The doctor says ragweed is worse when the nights are cool and the days are warm and dry.

“I think the Labor Day weekend is going to be tough for people who suffer from ragweed allergies,” said Zgherea.

There are at least 17 species of ragweed in the United States. When they bloom, a plant can produce and release up to one billion grains of fine powder pollen into the air.

The doctor says one way to get ahead of the symptoms is to be proactive.

“If you’re known to a ragweed allergy, you should probably start taking your medicine now,” Dr. Z said.

Zgherea also recommends wearing hats, pants and long sleeves to keep pollen off your skin. It’s estimated that 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.