Dr. Duane Harris, board certified allergist with Intermountain Allergy & Asthma talks about Fall Outdoor Allergies.
Q: What is in the air that is bothering people in the Fall?
ANSWER: Fall is weed season so people with weed allergies are currently miserable and the weeds that tend to be a big problem in Utah are Chenopods(which is a family of weeds like pigweed and russian thistle), sagebrush and ragweed as well, to a lesser extent.
Q: How do you know what’s pollinating?
ANSWER: You can certainly look at the individual plants and see what is flowering and producing pollen, but a much more efficient way is to collect the pollen in the air and identify it and count it. When you see the pollen count on KSL, that comes from Intermountain Allergy & Asthma. We actually collect the pollen on the roof of the office in Draper. The pollen is stained and counted in the office every weekday.
Q: When can we expect the fall allergy season to end?
ANSWER: Most of the weeds will be done pollinating once we have a frost or freeze, however, sagebrush will generally pollinate until it freezes into the 20s or until snow stays on the ground for a few days. Most years, this occurs from mid October – early November. Even though the pollen season will be over, the next concern is increasing asthma symptoms. I think of winter as asthma season and in fact, once the children are back in school, they start sharing viruses and we see significant increase in asthma symptoms. Fall and early Winter are an important time to be watching for increasing asthma symptoms especially in children who are unable to tell the parents how they are feeling. This is the time to make sure that anybody with asthma is on their appropriate medicines. The last thing of importance is now is the time for all of us to get our flu shot.
For help with your Allergies or Asthma contact:
Intermountain Allergy & Asthma
Offices in: Draper, Murray, Salt Lake, Ogden, St. George, Logan