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Itchy eyes? You’re not alone. It’s hay fever season in Southwest Ohio

Itchy eyes? You’re not alone. Southwest Ohio is gearing up for another season of high pollen.

Ragweed allergen levels will be high, starting this week and could continue to be a problem for allergy sufferers until mid-October, according to local allergy experts. According to pollen.com, pollen counts in the Miami Valley will be higher this week, and top allergens include ragweed, grasses and dock.

Dr. Arturo Bonnin of the Allergy and Asthma Centre of Dayton said ragweed season started this week and will continue through October. If the temperature stays warmer throughout the fall, the pollen season will last even longer. People who are allergic to ragweed or suffer from asthma should avoid outdoor activities and should keep their windows closed in their homes and their cars.

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Ragweed reaches peak levels in mid-September, and this type of pollen can cause seasonal allergic rhinitis — otherwise known as hay fever. Hay fever impacts up to 23 million Americans each year, and symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and itchy throat or eyes, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

There are 17 species of ragweed in the U.S., and the weeds grow in most regions — producing a fine-power pollen when they bloom from August through as late as November, according to the ACAAI. There are more than 67 million Americans suffering from different allergies every day.

The fall allergy season starts as students head back to school for the year. ACAAI officials advise that parents make sure their children have their allergies and asthma under control before sending them off to school, which includes securing medicine, inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors for their classrooms.

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“Keeping allergies and asthma under control during the school year is a huge challenge” said allergist Stephen Tilles, president of the ACAAI. “If you plan in advance, and understand the school’s procedures that are in place to keep your child healthy, you’re ahead of the game. Remember to keep communication with the school open, and work with your child to know their triggers. If you do, you’ll be off to a great start to the school year.”

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