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Ragweed allergy season is underway

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OLATHE, Kan. -- The ragweed allergy season has arrived. The first significant amount of that pollen was in Children's Mercy's count on Monday. There are several reasons this season could be more miserable than many.

The ragweed is loving the wetter, cooler summer as much as we are. Last year's drought caused some of the plants to wither. Pollen counts were down a little. But this year?

"We would expect this to be a very difficult ragweed season with high pollen counts," said Dr. Jeffrey Wald of Kansas City Allergy and Asthma.

Dr. Wald thinks the misery will multiply in the next few weeks from high counts and high exposure.

Allergy sufferer Bonnie Logan said she's been outside a lot lately.

"We've been walking four to five miles every other day, and on the off-days.  We bike like 10 miles," said Bonnie.

But she knows she may need to curtail outdoor activity soon until pollen is out of the air.

With the wonderful weather, it's also tempting tolower the car windows or raise  the windows at home. But you'll let thousands of pollen grains inside to assault your nose and eyes.

Dr. Wald said keep the windows closed and your air conditioning filter will do the rest.

"Even with a cheap 99 cent air filter, that's been shown to decrease pollen counts inside by 95 percent," said Dr. Wald.

He also said if you've been outside at a ballgame, take a shower as soon as you get home. That will rinse the pollen out of your hair.

Dr. Wald added that ragweed sufferers should start taking prescription nasal sprays if they haven't already. And if you're not on one, start taking your antihistamine pills now.

An alternative to allergy shots is on the horizon. It's a pill that's immunotherapy against ragweed. But the FDA hasn't approved it yet. It could be approved for next year's allergy season.

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