Ragweed = current bane of my existence

The fall pollen season has begun, much to the dismay of the more than 36 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies. There’s nowhere to hide until the first frost ends the growing season.

Ragweed, which is the most common outdoor allergen in the fall, is most prevalent throughout the Northeast, South and Midwest, and commonly found in fields and along roadsides. Allergy sufferers in urban areas can also feel the impact because ragweed grows in abundance in vacant lots. Each ragweed plant produces one billion pollen grains per average season, and the wind can carry those grains up to 400 miles due to their lightweight texture.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Ragweed! [shakes fist] Dismay is an understatement.

You would have never known yesterday that I had in fact taken a Claritin-D 12-hour (Schering-Plough has my undying love and devotion) and that it did in fact lessen my symptoms quite a bit. I feel a little better today, and it is raining right now, so perhaps that will help. But when the allergen that can cause your head to fuzz up faster than a tall glass of vodka can travel 400 miles to make a mess of your life, there’s nowhere to hide.

The AAAI runs the National Allergy Bureau, which trains allied health workers to work with allergists and count pollen. The closest counter to Somerville is in Salem, which is about 17 miles northeast of me and more coastal and a bit less urban (in my limited experience, I haven’t been to Salem much). A counter went out today, and grass and weeds are listed at a ‘moderate concentration.’

I beg to differ. Perhaps it’s the additional particulates in the air from air pollution, perhaps Somerville has more vacant lots. Who knows. Anyway, you can register with the NAB and set up email alerts for the counting station/s near you, in hopes of having some warning when counts start to creep up.

All that info, and you didn’t even have to go to the reference desk.

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