Brace yourself, allergy sufferers: weed season has officially begun.
Beginning mid-August and lasting until the first hard frost of fall, weed pollens, like those from ragweed and sagebrush, will trigger a new wave of symptoms—runny noses, itching, sneezing and watery and puffy eyes—in allergy-prone individuals. To make matters worse, experts predict this season to be worse and longer than previous years.
True, ragweed is commonly found in the Midwest and sagebrush in western states, such as Wyoming, California, Nevada and Idaho, but weed pollens are ubiquitous, says allergist Rachel Szekely, MD, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic. And no matter where you fall on the map, taking a few precautions can help protect against the sniffles.
For example, an outdoor workout is best to do in the afternoon, says Dr. Szekely. "Pollens are released in the morning and the count will be higher than if you were to exercise later in the day," says Dr. Szekely. And on particularly hot days, keep the windows up and the air conditioner on both at home and in the car. "Fresh air is nice, but it brings all the pollens," says Dr. Szekely.
Of course, even the most careful people are prone to an attack; in which case, fall back on your usual arsenal of antihistamines—the classic medication for pollen, says Dr. Szekely. Other solutions include saline rinses and prescription nose sprays. (For a full list of available treatments, read 10 Solutions for Seasonal Allergies.)
It's important to note that a huge increase in symptoms could mean your treatment is no longer working for you. When that happens, it's best to see an allergy specialist, says Dr. Szekely. "Allergy shots and immunotherapy are very effective in reducing people's symptoms." You can find a specialist near you when you visit the American Academy of Allergy and Asthma Immunology's website.
Beyond that, sufferers can check weather channels for pollen counts and plan their day accordingly. Though if the weather man calls for a warm, breezy day, you can assume pollen counts will be high. "It's a pretty sure bet," says Dr. Szekely.
Residents from the Gulf Coast to the interior South continued to bare the brunt of damaging impacts from Cindy on Thursday, including dangerous surf, flash flooding, tornadoes and strong winds.
After temperatures soared to 29-34 C (84-94 F) across Germany late this week, a welcome period of more seasonable conditions is on the horizon.
While a surge in warmth and humidity will lead to downpours and gusty storms in the northeastern United States into early Saturday, much cooler air will soon follow.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala around 6:31 a.m. Thursday (8:31 a.m. EDT), the U.S. Geological Survey reports.
Even though Cindy is inland and weakening, the risk of flooding and severe thunderstorms will continue along the central Gulf Coast and part of the interior South.
Cindy made landfall early Thursday morning along the border of Texas and Louisiana.
The longest heat wave in more than 20 years in the United Kingdom peaked on Wednesday with temperatures again topping 32 C (90 F) in parts of southern England.