By Susan Guynn | News-Post Staff
Summer may be winding down, but a new season is winding up — the sneezin’ season — courtesy of ragweed.
“It usually starts around the 15th of August,” said Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, an allergist at Family Allergy and Asthma Care with offices in Frederick, Olney, and Gaithersburg. There are other allergy-triggering weeds all summer, but as fall goes on the culprits become ragweed and molds.
“There are two types of molds,” Eghrari-Sabet said. “The type that come with hot, dry winds and the type that comes with rain.”
“The beauty of being an allergist in this area is that there’s enough allergens around all year-round,” she said.
She sees a surge in patient visits this time of year as teachers and students get back to school. Dust mites are usually the source of allergy symptoms for teachers who arrive in classrooms first. The next round brings in students, particularly pre-school and kindergarten age.
“They spend a lot of time sitting on carpeted floors” and napping on mats, where dust mites hang out, feeding on dead skin cells. Then when the cool autumn air arrives outside, the heat goes on inside, circulating allergens around in rooms.
“Almost everybody I see is allergic to dust mites,” Eghrari-Sabet said. “It’s the most common allergen because people are exposed to them from birth, no matter where you live.”
If you are experiencing allergy symptoms — seasonal or perennial — consider visiting an allergist who can schedule tests to see what may be triggering your symptoms. “It’s so easy to get diagnosed and find out just what you are allergic to,” Eghrari-Sabet said.
A new blood test, which can be ordered by a primary care physician or allergist, provides more accurate information about allergies. “If you need further treatment, allergy shots are the definitive treatment,” she said.