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Wisconsin Allergist: Bad Fall Allergy Season Ahead

PHOTO: Ragweed pollen is a principal source of allergy misery for millions of people every fall. The Wisconsin Asthma Coalition says it's important for sufferers to develop an asthma and allergy plan with their doctor. Photo courtesy of University of Texas.
PHOTO: Ragweed pollen is a principal source of allergy misery for millions of people every fall. The Wisconsin Asthma Coalition says it's important for sufferers to develop an asthma and allergy plan with their doctor. Photo courtesy of University of Texas.
September 8, 2014

MADISON, Wis. – It looks like it won't be an easy fall season for allergy and asthma sufferers, according to Dr. Mark Hermanoff, an allergist and member of the Wisconsin Asthma Coalition.

"In Wisconsin, we've had a very wet and cool summer and so, that's led to a lot of growth of vegetation,” he explains. “All those plants and vegetation is going to die as we get into the cooler weather and that's going to help produce lots of mold.

“So we're probably going to see a big mold season. And we're right in the midst of ragweed season right now."

More than a half-million Wisconsinites are living with asthma, and allergens can trigger asthma flare-ups.

Hermanoff says it's very important, both for children and adults, to develop an asthma plan with their doctor.

"Everyone who has asthma should have a written plan, telling them or reminding them what to do in case they have an asthma exacerbation, because when you're waking up in the middle of the night with an asthma flare-up, you may not remember what you were told six months ago during your last visit,” he says. “So, having something in writing can be very helpful."

For children, Hermanoff says it's important their school has a copy of the asthma action plan on file and that teachers and the school nurse are aware the child has asthma.

Wisconsin law allows children with asthma to carry their inhalers with them at school to use during an asthma flare-up.

According to Hermanoff, the easiest way to avoid problems is to limit exposure to allergens, which isn't as simple as it sounds if you enjoy being outdoors in the fall.

"Stay away from dead and dying grass and mulch and raked leaves,” he stresses. “Those things are fun to play with, but when you're digging around in mulch or digging around in leaves, you're going to kick up a lot of mold and that's going to set off your symptoms.

“If you're spending a great deal of time especially in the early morning outdoors during the ragweed season, which we're just getting through right now, that's going to be a trigger for your asthma and your allergies."


Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI