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Fall may be hell for allergy sufferers
Warm, wet fall could promote ragweed spores
AccuWeather is predicting that weather will promote ragweed spores through October, making it hard on residents who have hay fever. - photo by AccuWeather map

Allergy sufferers in the Southeast could be in for a groggy fall, as warm and wet months ahead will promote mold spore growth and prolong ragweed season, AccuWeather reports.

Historically, the peak of allergy season for the South falls around Sept. 19, with the four to five weeks before and after that date typically producing the worst of fall allergies.

"We're expecting some above-normal temperatures and wetness there for September and October," Alan Reppert, a meteorologist  for the weather service, said. 

Both temperature and precipitation play a role in the severity of the allergy season.

Warmth can extend the growing season for plants that produce ragweed pollen. Meanwhile, the wet weather is a double-edged sword.

Moisture can weigh down pollen, keeping it on the ground instead of in the air, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. However, dampness will make the environment more conducive to mold growth.

Portions of the Northeast and Midwest will get a breath of fresh air this year as an early freeze could kill weeds and bring an end to the ragweed season as soon as mid-September.

"There could be a significant shot of chilly air that comes across the Great Lakes region and into the interior Northeast sometime in mid- to late-September," lead long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok said in the fall forecast.

The cold shot may also make mold spores dormant, ending the threat early. Typically, mold peaks through early October, as it thrives on damp fall foliage.

"As far as the Plains go, we're looking at wetter-than-normal conditions in September and October," Reppert said.

This could keep the mold spore concentration high.

Allergens will settle down by October in the region, however, as freezes begin to occur and a snowfall is in the offing.


Indoor Threats

As the seasonal chill sets in, those sensitive to fall allergies often head inside for relief. However, seasonal allergens can lurk within the home, as well.

Dust mites are the main culprit and are nearly impossible to eliminate completely.

Allergists advise those with dust mite sensitivities to use HEPA filters in air heating and cooling vents to prevent the aggravation of indoor allergies. The filters will also help to eliminate pollen that has settled indoors from open windows over the summer months.

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