Fall allergy season underway as weeds, pollens increase

ST. LOUIS – If you are sneezing, hacking, coughing and have itchy watery eyes you are not alone. Fox 2/ News 11's Dan Gray reported the fall allergy season started in August and mid-September is the peak time for ragweed pollen to cause an allergy known as hay fever.

Hay fever affects 23 million Americans each year. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat or eyes.

Allergy sufferers deal with it by taking over the counter or prescription medicine. You'll be insulated from allergens for the most part if you stay inside because air conditioners filter out about 95 percent of allergens, but few of us can stay inside all the time. Dr. Mark Dykewicz, MD SLUCARE Physician and Chief of Immunology and Allergy Department at St. Louis University says both ragweed and mold are making this fall typically bad allergy season. He has new information on whether a nasal steroid spray or an antihistamine is more effective, "There are new national guidelines that I'm authoring that are coming in the next month that are saying for most people the need for a combination of an oral antihistamine and a nasal steroid spray is not necessary if you’re regularly taking a nasal steroid it’s about as good as the combo of the two."

Allergy sufferer Alison Wingerter of Hillsboro told Dan, "I want to cry because I live on allergy medicine. I have to take it all year round because it’s so bad and with the constant weather changes I have to change my medicine all the time." Beth Ervin of Lockport, Illinois told Dan, "My nose is itchy and eyes are watering."

Dr. Dykewicz says ragweed allergy season can go for several more weeks and mold can last until the first frost. ​