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Allergy season picks up as weed pollen enters the air around Kansas City

Posted at 5:20 AM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 09:20:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The itchy, runny nose of fall allergy season is hitting the Kansas City metro area now. One day last week, Kansas City, Kansas, ranked third on a pollen hot spot tracker. 

Data is now available that shows pollen levels in real time on a new app called AccuPollen. The app uses data from Children’s Mercy Hospital to update users on what to expect outside. 

Dr. Bridgette Jones, an allergist at Children’s Mercy, said right now ragweed pollen is entering the mix. She said grass and mold pollen from the summer is still lingering. So people who suffer from both mold and weed pollen are getting hit on two allergenic fronts.

“We'll have a few weeks where the counts are really, really high and people are really, really miserable. And then they'll start to decline after it starts to get cold. Once we have a couple of major frosts, then those pollen counts are gone,” Jones explained

In the meantime, people suffering from allergies can use over the counter medication like antihistamine tablets, or nasal sprays. Jones recommends using nasal steroids earlier in the season because they typically take longer to go into effect. Prescription-strength treatments are available if problems persist. 

Jones suggests washing your clothes and taking a shower after spending a lot of time outside, especially for children who suffer from allergies. If allergies are particularly bad, or pollen counts are high, Jones says you should consider not spending as much time outside, closing doors and windows in your home and car. 

The weather can make a difference. Jones says rain usually helps control pollen, but wind isn’t always as helpful.

“Sometimes with wind we may see pollens in the area that we typically don't see it because they are brought in from other areas. For example, from Arkansas. Sometimes we see pine pollen where we don't have a lot of pine trees here,” she pointed out.