Columbus and Central Ohio Weather

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — You may be sneezing and sniffling more for good reason lately. Perhaps your eyes are watering after spending time outdoors or mowing the lawn.

We have entered the second part of allergy season in Ohio, when ragweed becomes more prevalent. Since the middle of August, ragweed has been driving up the daily pollen count. Dry, warm and breezy days allow pollen grains to travel farther and find a landing spot on us and our clothes.

Infrequent and spotty rain typical of late summer days limit the amount of cleansing that air undergoes, which allows pollen floating in the air to linger.

The first part of allergy season in Ohio arrives in early spring, when tree pollen diffuses on those early warm and windy days, as buds open up, followed by grass pollen.

Persistent bouts of cool, wet weather in early spring delay the emergence of plants in some years, giving allergy sufferers an early buffer. Eventually, tree and grass pollen converge, making things worse.

A climate trend in recent decades favors warmer, wetter weather and lengthening growing seasons that are conducive to thicker vegetation and longer allergy seasons.

Ohio is a natural breeding ground for seasonal allergies in the spring, summer and fall because of the influence of climate and topography. Pollen grains travel considerable distances over the relatively flat terrain of the Ohio Valley.

In the spring, oak and sugar maples are notorious for producing an allergic reaction in those who are susceptible. Bouts of wet weather also increase the levels of mold. An exceptionally wet July in central Ohio — 6 to 10 inches of rain — likely contributed to higher-than-normal mold counts during the early summer.

The best advice for allergy sufferers is to wash away the pollen before going to bed at night that becomes embedded in our hair, and in the fur of our pets. Running the air-conditioner and closing windows on warm, breezy days helps, too.

Symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and occasional coughing from post-nasal drip suggest a response to something in the environment. However, more serious respiratory conditions that include a fever, cough or shortness of breath require immediate medical attention.

To keep up with the daily pollen count and latest weather forecast, stay tuned to NBC4 Weather, or download our free mobile app.