For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
At UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
Heavy Rains of Spring, Summer Are Expected to Accelerate
Ragweed Growth and Aggravate Allergy Sufferers This Fall
The record rainfall this past spring and most of this summer
has set the stage for one of the heaviest ragweed seasons ever,
according to an allergist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry
of New Jersey (UMDNJ).
Any day now, bumper crops of ragweed are expected to blossom,
wreaking havoc on hay fever sufferers, said Dr. Leonard Bielory,
director of the Asthma and Allergy Research Center at the UMDNJ-New
Jersey Medical School in Newark.
"The heavy rainfall in June set the stage for a healthy growing
season for these leafy plants, which grow to four-to-seven feet
tall. Unless an unexpected severe drought occurs, the ragweed
pollen season will most likely register in the top five of our
recordings since the late 1980's," he said.
Dr. Bielory provided the following tips for minimizing exposure
to ragweed pollen:
- Don't exercise outdoors during the day when pollen levels
from ragweed are highest.
- Cut the grass, trim the bushes and do other yard work in
early evening hours.
- Use air conditioning at home and in the car.
- Avoid ragweed "cross-reactors--"such as honeydew melon, cantaloupe
and bananas-because they are "cousins" to ragweed and may contribute
to sneezing, coughing, congestion, running nose, headache, irritated
eyes and itchy palate.
- Take a closer look at herbal products before using them because
many of them also cross react, such as chamomile, an herb found
in some teas and cosmetics.
"Individuals who experience hay fever also should shower before
going to bed at night to avoid bringing the pollen into bed,"
he said, "and people with pets should wipe their fur clean when
letting them inside the home in the evening."
To arrange an interview on the ragweed season with Dr. Bielory,
call Tom Capezzuto, UMDNJ News Service, at (973) 972-7273. For
information regarding daily pollen counts, call UMDNJ's pollen
count hotline at (973) 972-6518.