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Feeling stuffy? Iowa's 2nd allergy season has arrived

If you're feeling a little under the weather or stuffy heading into September, it could be the resurgence of a popular fall weed.

CLIVE, Iowa — I haven't felt exactly 100% waking up the past week or so, and even felt it at the Iowa State Fair. Asking around the Local 5 newsroom, there were plenty of people who have been feeling it too.

"Good Morning Iowa" Meteorologist Brandon Lawrence showed the pollen/allergy count during his forecast Tuesday morning, and I knew the suspect immediately.

"If you're allergic to ragweed, it's usually around state fair time, you're definitely feeling it right now," said Dr. Timothy McCoy, family practice physician with MercyOne South Des Moines Family Medicine.

The symptoms are pretty much identical to the tree and grass pollen we deal with during the spring and early summer.

Ragweed isn't likely to let up until the first freeze, which on average in Des Moines, isn't until mid-October.

"They're the itchy symptoms. Itchy eyes, the roof of my mouth even itches. It feels like there's something stuck back there," McCoy added.

Of course, the tried and true quick remedy is an antihistamine allergy pill to calm down those sinuses. But if that doesn't work, there's another, more aggressive way.

"The sinus rinse that washes them out does have some benefits, but many people don't like cramming stuff up their nose," McCoy said.

Abigail Chihak with the Dallas County Health Department says you should be able to tell the difference between allergies and sickness (whether that be a cold, COVID, or flu) pretty easily.

"With a virus, you might get more body aches, more fatigue, and you might get a fever or chills that you're not normally going to see with allergies," Chihak said.

Chihak also thinks a changing climate could be having an impact on the length and intensity of allergy season.

"We're likely to see more of these [types of allergy] seasons; maybe longer in the summer, because of that change," Chihak said.

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