It may not be fall yet, but the ragweed has begun to bloom and that has a lot of people feeling some allergy symptoms -- including those who have never suffered from seasonal allergies before.
FOX 9 News spoke with Dr. Pramod Kelkar, an allergist with Allina Medical Clinic, about this allergy season and why it might seem worse than those of years past.
Q: Is it possible to develop those allergies later in life? If so, what are the telltale signs?
A: Absolutely. We see patients all the time who grew up with cats and dogs, never had allergies. For the first time, when they're an adult, they develop allergies. It's quite common to develop allergies even when you're an adult.
Q: Is there something in particular that really is hard on folks in the fall?
A: Ragweed is the biggest problem in the fall, and there are many other weeds that are kind of like ragweed that are pretty high in fall season. Also, we have -- sometimes -- high mold counts, and that's also a problem for allergy sufferers. Keep in mind that sometimes you may not find any ragweed next to your house, but ragweed pollen can travel miles and miles.
Q: What are the telltale signs that somebody does, in fact, have allergies?
A: They will have a stuffed nose, runny nose and sneezing, but the allergies will always last longer than one to two weeks. Allergies are not going to have fever, and the allergies also typically have itchy, watery, red eyes -- not just the nose and sinus symptoms.
Q: How can people treat themselves without going to the doctor?
A: If you're playing outside, then when you come home, you want to take a bath or a shower. That way, all the pollen on the body is washed away before you go to bed. The second thing you can do is something simple like a sinus rinse or a neti pot -- an over-the-counter water and salt irrigation of the nose and sinus. That's very, very helpful for allergies. The third thing people can do is: There are a lot of over-the-counter medications. The good news is: We have so many treatment options available these days that nobody should be miserable with allergies and nobody should be staying indoors and missing out on all the outdoor opportunities of playing or doing outdoor sports just because they have allergies.