Fall allergy woes hit Central Virginia - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Fall allergy woes hit Central Virginia

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A health alert – Hay Fever is hitting people hard, and doctors say the symptoms could be around for a long time.  

It looks nice and colorful this time of year, but ragweed is absolutely what allergy sufferers are trying to avoid. Be sure not to confuse allergies with cold symptoms.  

Dr. Scott Greenfield is seeing more and more patients come in with hay fever symptoms. It stems from ragweed - a weedy plant that produces pollen this time of year.  

"Basically a lot of patients coming in with the watery eyes - sneezing, scratchy throat. Those kind of things," said Dr. Greenfield.  

He says the warning signs usually appear in early August.  

"Virginia is the worst place to be if you have allergies," added Dr. Scott Greenfield.  

Especially this year, as rain contributed to increased mold allergies. Dr. Greenfield says over the counter antihistamines are the best way to treat the symptoms. It's best to make sure you know what exactly you're treating. The doctor says many times, people confuse allergies with colds. 

If you have allergies, you don't usually have a fever. With a cold, you may. Allergies typically last a whole season. A cold - three to seven days. You can have a cough with allergies - but a much deeper, more frequent one should be evident with a cold.  

Dr. Greenfield says fall allergies usually last through the season - a good reason to know how exactly to treat the symptoms - and nip them in the bud. 

"I think it will continue a little bit further usually until we get that first frost or some really good cold weather," noted Dr. Greenfield.

The temperature is cooler which means you may be tempted to open your windows for some fresh air, but doctors say that's not a good idea if you have allergies because you allow all the pollen and mold in. It's best to keep doors and windows closed.

Roughly 20 percent of Americans suffer from hay fever according to medical experts. 

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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