For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
Summer Heat Promises Early Harvest of Bumper Crop
of Ragweed to Nag Allergy Sufferers
8/12/05—The arrival of ragweed season has already unofficially begun and thanks largely to the summer
heat, this season is nothing to sneeze at. The hotter-than-usual summer weather has fostered
early growth of the pollen-emitting plants that typically begin springing up each mid-August,
according to Dr. Leonard Bielory, director of the Asthma and Allergy Research Center at the
University. The ragweed crop doesn’t dissipate until the fall's first frost, he noted.
Dr. Bielory noted that the best way to avoid ragweed pollen is to stay indoors as much as possible
and use air-conditioning and air purifiers to minimize exposure, both in the home and in the car.
If you must do yard work, consider wearing goggles and a dust mask and doing the work in the
early evening hours.
Those with hay fever, Dr. Bielory said, also should shower to avoid tracking the pollen
throughout the house, and those with pets should wipe clean their fur when they come inside.
Certain fruits like honeydew melon, cantaloupe, bananas and camomile are related to ragweed,
are "cross-reactors" and may often cause sneezing, coughing, congestion, headaches, irritated
eyes and sometimes wheezing.
Ragweed also is a notorious cause of ocular, or eye, allergies and can increase asthma attacks in
90 percent of children and 50 percent of adults, said Dr. Bielory.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Bielory, call Tom Capezzuto of the UMDNJ News Service at
(973) 972-7273. For information regarding daily pollen counts, call UMDNJ's pollen count
hotline at (973) 972-6518.