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Allergy season heats up early in Southern Wisconsin

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GINA R. HEINE
August 21, 2009
— Allergy sufferers are facing their foes earlier this season, a local allergist says.

Ragweed and mold season usually gets rolling in September, but itís already started, said Ronald Ragotzy, allergist/immunologist at Mercy Clinic East. July usually is a better month for allergies, but it never really let up this year, he said.


Itís hard to say why, he said, ďbut I think itís been such a good growing season with it being cool, it hasnít been dried out, and I think the molds just love to grow in that. I think thatís what made it worse than other years.Ē


Last summerís record flooding also might have played a role, he said.


ďIt probably got things going, and this year they (molds) just kept growing,Ē he said.


Molds tend to trigger asthma, so if itís a bad mold year, itíll likely be a bad asthma year this fall, he said.


Ragotzy said heís seeing more patients earlier than previous years reporting allergy symptoms.


Ragotzy says people have three ways to treat allergies:


-- Avoid what causes the allergy. That can be difficult.


ďIt doesnít really work for seasonal stuff, but it does work really well for cats, dust mites (and others),Ē Ragotzy said.


-- Medication. A ďwhole bunchĒ of medications on the market treat allergies, and they do a very good job, he said.


ďThere are a lot more options now that donít make you drowsy,Ē he said.


-- Immunotherapy. Allergy shots or drops try to change your immune system so you donít react to pollens or molds.


It can be a long-term process, though, usually three to five years.



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