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Fall Allergies


Fall Allergies

Nicki Nair, M.D., Allergist

The late summer early fall starting in the month of August is when we get the second wave of patients essentially. You start with what we call the western weed, the kochia, Russian thistle, sagebrush, all of this starts to pollinate. Come mid-August, between seventh and fourteenth of August we start the ragweed pollinating and that’s our wealth in this part of the country. It’s an intensely allergenic pollen. The wind can carry it up to 200 miles from where a ragweed plant is, so might keep the backyard meticulous, weed free, but you are not going to escape if you are sensitive. It is a very buoyant pollen, so it rises up. It can go in the water so it’s a very smart pollen essentially ok. It causes a lot of problems. It’ll start in August and it’ll start increasing every day until we reach Labor Day, for two or three weeks. Then it maintains at that level until mid-September and when the nights start getting cooler the pollen shedding gets less.

What steps should you take to avoid symptoms?

Try to limit your contact. If you’re going to spend time outside, come inside. Shower off. Wash your hair. Get rid of those clothes. Change your pillowcases. Pillowcases collect a lot of the antigens, particularly if you don’t wash your hair. You know and a lot of women will tell you it’s a pain to wash your hair because you have to spend time with it. You see, so you need to change your pillowcases because it collects that.

How do you develop allergies?

You are going to get the predisposition to develop an allergy based on your genes. And then the second thing is based on the exposure. You live in Nebraska where there is a lot of ragweed and your parents have allergies you most likely are going to develop it.

For allergy sufferers, fall is more than just a season of cooler temperatures. Dr. Nicki Nair​, Allergist, with Boys Town National Research Hospital, explains the common allergens in the fall, what you can do to avoid them and when it's time to see an allergist. ​​​