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Climate change prolonging fall allergy season

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A patch of ragweed
A patch of ragweed at a construction site.
Paw Paw / Jim Larson / Creative Commons via Flickr

The Minnesota Department of Health says people with fall allergies may be in for some tough days as the ragweed pollen season peaks in Minnesota. Wendy Brunner, with the department's asthma program, said ragweed-related allergies will be a problem for people who have them from now until when the first hard frost comes.

"The ragweed pollen season extends from early August through the first hard frost. Looking at historical data, we tend to see the peak coming right now or into the next few weeks of September," Brunner said.

Brunner said people who think their fall allergies are getting worse are probably right because ragweed pollen is irritating many people for well over two weeks longer than it used to.

"Researchers have shown that actually the first frost is coming a little later and we've seen the season extended," Brunner said. "In fact, since 1995 the ragweed pollen season has increased by 18 to 21 days."

Brunner says people with allergy induced-asthma need to step up their management of the condition this time of year.