RAGWEED Season - It's Baaaacck!

Monday, August 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Billowing smoke can make matters worse for people already suffering from allergies. Ragweed pollen is already on the rise, and expected to climb higher in the next few weeks. People with allergies need to begin staying away from heavily wooded places where tree, grass and weed pollens are starting to fill the air.

Oklahoma allergy sufferers can feel it starting - the swollen eyes, cough, congestion, and other symptoms that signal the ragweed pollen season.

Patients begin having symptoms around mid August.

Dr. Laudy Naimeh, Allergist: "When you get closer to the end of August, it's really the peak. Some places last through the end of September and you will notice that patients are really complaining of symptoms."

Dr. Naimeh says ragweed is a bush that produces a severely allergenic pollen this time of year.

It's the strongest of many weeds and grasses peaking in the fall. Today's pollen count at Tulsa Allergy Clinic was 87. That's the number of tree, grass and weed pollens per cubic meter of air. It's not as high as this week a year ago.

Dr. Naimeh: "It's getting up there, but we've had in the hundreds, and when you talk about high pollen count, last August it was around 183."

Carly Chalmers' mom brought her in for an allergy shot. She can tell the pollen count is climbing.

Cathy Chalmers, Mother: "We have seen a real increase in her symptoms. We just got back from Colorado and the humidity and the heat - we can certainly see a lot of symptoms. Shiners."

Carly doesn't like all the medications she must take for her allergies.

Carly Chalmers: "It's really bothering me when I have to do that nasal stuff."

Dr Naimeh has advice for allergy sufferers.

"It's very helpful is they start their nose sprays very heavily and regularly - take their antihistamines in order to reduce the inflammation before the pollen hits. They should also stay indoors as much as possible for now, and when driving on the highway, put the air conditioning on recycling air so the pollens don't get inside the car."

Or, one could move away from Tulsa, considered one of the worst spots in the nation for allergies.

"I believe it. We suffer. Suffer greatly."