Allergy season heats up early in Southern Wisconsin
Ragweed and mold season usually gets rolling in September, but it’s 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.
It’s hard to say why, he said, “but I think it’s been such a good growing season with it being cool, it hasn’t been dried out, and I think the molds just love to grow in that. I think that’s what made it worse than other years.”
Last summer’s record flooding also might have played a role, he said.
“It probably got things going, and this year they (molds) just kept growing,” he said.
Molds tend to trigger asthma, so if it’s a bad mold year, it’ll likely be a bad asthma year this fall, he said.
Ragotzy said he’s 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.
“It doesn’t really work for seasonal stuff, but it does work really well for cats, dust mites (and others),” Ragotzy said.
-- Medication. A “whole bunch” of medications on the market treat allergies, and they do a very good job, he said.
“There are a lot more options now that don’t make you drowsy,” he said.
-- Immunotherapy. Allergy shots or drops try to change your immune system so you don’t react to pollens or molds.
It can be a long-term process, though, usually three to five years.