By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A spike in allergy patients can be attributed to a specific weed.

Allergists say conditions have been perfect this week for fall allergies, and ragweed is one of the main culprits.

Warm, dry weather has caused an uptick in patients.

On a warm, September evening, Danny Dietl sits outside his Minneapolis home and relives a part of his childhood.

And there’s a reason he’s sorting through baseball cards he bought 30 years ago. He’d give up a part of this to anyone who can cure him of his watery eyes, stuffy nose and lack of energy.

“My entire 1987 Topps baseball card collection. But honestly, at this point I’d give up the whole thing, I would basically give up my childhood to feel better today,” Dietl said.

He’s only kind of kidding. Like so many others, Dietl is striking out with all kinds of allergies, and one in particular has been extremely annoying.

“We have lots of tree pollens but we also have lots of ragweed,” said Dr. Pramod Kelkar. “Actually, the Midwest is considered the capitol of ragweed.”

Dr. Kelkar, an allergist with Allina Health, believes his clinic is about to get a lot busier. He says Mother Nature is allowing ragweed to run wild this year.

“Once the rain stops and the weather gets drier and warmer and windier, they are going to have more symptoms,” he said. “That might feel that this is one of the worst fall allergy seasons because of the changes in temperature and weather patterns.”

Kelkar says a variety of over-the-counter medications should help, or allergy shots can work in extreme cases.

“Nowadays we have so many treatments available, they should not deny themselves the pleasure of the outdoors,” Kelkar said.

This Thursday, in particular, looks bad for ragweed and other pollens.

Kelkar says the best we can hope for is plenty of rain in September, because the fall allergy season goes until the end of October.


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