Ragweed count at its highest level since 2019 in the Quad Cities

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - If you have been sniffling and sneezing or itching your eyes more than usual lately, you likely have a ragweed allergy.

Local allergist, Dr. Mark Blaser of Medical Arts Associates in Moline said Wednesday’s ragweed count of 190 gr/m³ (grains per cubic meter) was the highest of any date since 2019, and the highest for the date of August 31 since 2005.

To put that into perspective, the ragweed count Tuesday was 70 gr/m³.

Ragweed count:

0-49 gr/m³: Low

50-90 gr/m³: Moderate

100-140 gr/m³: High

150 gr/m³ or greater: Very High

Dr. Blaser takes the ragweed count every morning around 6:00 during ragweed season, which runs from roughly August 15 to September 15.

The peak of the ragweed pollen season is usually during the week leading up to Labor Day weekend.

Tuesday’s weather combination of nor rain, low humidity and a gusty wind was the perfect recipe for the higher pollen count Wednesday. The pollen count each morning takes into account the amount of ragweed in the 24 hours prior.

“Ragweed tends to release, there’s actually a little spring-like device that sweeps out each little container of the pollen. If you have fairly low humidity and the ragweed dries early, it will spritz this stuff out into the atmosphere and blow. And so, kind of day by day it might matter on the humidity. Rain tends to knock it down, especially if you have a heavier rain. So, it’s just variable,” said Dr. Blaser.

Watch the video below for an explanation from Dr. Blaser on how he measures the ragweed count each morning.

He said it is easy to confuse sinus issues with a ragweed allergy or hay fever.

“The hallmark symptoms of allergy, in this season especially, are that you’ll have itchy eyes, itchy nose, and start to sneeze. So if it’s more headache, drainage, other things, it’s a little less specific. But if you can tell this last week and half, your eyes are itching and your nose are talking to you that way, it’s probably allergy,” said Blaser.