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No relief for hay fever

Updated: Monday, August 26 2013, 09:52 PM CDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI)—Summer is winding down, but talk of hay fever is picking up.

"It has nothing to do with hay and nothing to do with fever. But it's ragweed and other weeds that really pollinate this time of year," said allergist Dr. James Wille.

"The pollen counts are the highest I've seen them. They're at the top of the scale, and we're talking the major irritants being ragweed, chenopod and the nettles, and those are things that really get your eyes itchy," said KCCI meteorologist Metinka Slater.

Those annoying allergy symptoms are a sign of stress, not weakness, experts say. "For some reason, you have a very good immune system, and instead of the immune system seeing a ragweed antigen and saying, 'This is foreign but it's safe to me,' it says, 'It's foreign and I'm going to mount a response,'" said Wille.

There are plenty of options for your own response, over-the-counter and by prescription.

"There are many tablets that are antihistamines that are very safe, very effective and very inexpensive," Wille said. "Prescription ones are similar ones but they're just a little more potent, they have to be monitored a little bit more."

If you have severe allergies, you've probably spent a lot of time finding help at the grocery store. If that's the case, you might be better off seeing an allergist about the closest thing there is to a cure.

"If people are taking two or three of those medicines, and they still have issues, allergy shots are still an option for those that want to go that route," Wille said.

Whichever route you take, you may want to start soon, rather than waiting it out.

"And we're not going to see the pollen count drop anytime soon. We've got that stagnant hot air mass, so until we can get that to change, the pollen count is going to remain extremely high," Slater said.

No relief for hay fever


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