Ragweed Pollen Fills Late-Summer Air

Aug 12, 2013

Late summer means ragweed is starting to bloom in the Northwoods, and that

 could mean the onset of allergy symptoms for many residents.

Ragweed blooms in late summer.
Credit Sue Sweeney

Jill Blake is a public health nurse with Oneida County Health Department. She says Wisconsin usually has its first pollen surge in May, but ragweed is responsible for second round of allergy flare-ups in the fall.


“It’s a tall branch plant and it’s found all over, in dry pastures and fields, it’s by the roadsites, at construction sites. It’s the pollen that produces the symptoms.”


Those symptoms can include eye irritation, congestion, headaches, or even asthma attacks. And though it’s hard to completely avoid ragweed, Blake says you can take a few protective measures.


“The peak pollen production can occur in early morning. So try to plan outside activities for other times of the day. The other thing you can do is cover up. You can wear inexpensive painters masks if you have one. If you’re doing work in the garden or taking a hike – just put that mask on, that’ll stop some of the pollen from getting breathed in.”


Blake also recommends showering or changing clothes after being outside. Ragweed season peaks in late summer and early fall. You can call the National Allergy Bureau to check on pollen counts in your area.