Here in Georgia, it rained for five days straight because of Tropical Storm Fay. The aftermath of the storm is now moving up the East Coast, as Tropical Storm Gustav threatens to slam the Gulf Coast next week.
An abundance of rain this time of year is not a good sign for allergy sufferers. Heavy rain causes ragweed plants to grow much faster – and produce more pollen.
Ragweed allergies affect 10 to 20 percent of Americans, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Ragweed pollen is a major nuisance to allergy sufferers because the plants are so widespread (they grow well even in urban areas) and because the pollen grains can travel so far. Ragweed pollen has been found 400 miles out to sea and two miles up in the atmosphere!
The AAFA recommends that allergy sufferers stay indoors between 10:00 AM and 4:00, when pollen levels are highest. Air purifiers and high-efficiency vacuums take care of pollen grains that make their way indoors. For more ragweed pollen avoidance tips, see Ragweed Season – Allergy Relief Tips.
While moderate levels of ragweed pollen are already in the air, pollen counts are expected to peak in early September. Ragweed will continue to trigger allergies through the end of September.
All of this rain will spur more mold growth as well, especially if tropical storms continue through autumn. Mold grows quickly in piles of wet leaves. If you suffer from mold allergy, rake wet leaves away from your home as soon as possible (and be sure to wear a mask).
Mold also readily (and quickly) forms when homes are flooded. Citizens of Florida have already experienced massive flooding from Tropical Storm Fay. The storm also flooded the apartment of a friend of mine who lives in Montgomery, AL. Unfortunately, the maintenance crew at my friend’s apartment complex did not take the proper steps to clean up the flood damage. My friend can already smell the mildew, and her son has been sneezing for days. If your home floods, call a water damage restoration professional immediately; one phone call could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs and doctor bills.
Next week, Tropical Storm Gustav could very well transform into a hurricane before hitting the Gulf Coast, causing even more flooding. Keep your eyes on the weather reports in coming days!