The heavy rains that washed over Charleston the past few weeks will continue to plague area residents in another way: Allergies.
Ragweed pollen usually starts appearing in the air in West Virginia Aug. 10-15 on mainly dry and sunny days, said Dr. Chandra Kumar, medical director at Charleston's Asthma and Allergy Center.
Ragweed gradually builds up over the next several weeks, and it peaks around late September and early October.
"With all the rain we have had in recent weeks, we will probably see an intense ragweed season this fall," Kumar said.
Kumar said the other pollens in the air in fall are all genetic cousins of ragweed, including pigweed, cocklebur and lamb's quarters.
Food allergies in children are another concern as they return to school, especially those who are going to school for the first time or those leaving home for college.
"Both are in danger of inadvertent exposure," Kumar said. "Later on in the fall, the flu season comes along and triggers asthma and sinus infections in people with allergies, so we recommend that people with allergies get their flu shots as early in the season as possible."
Those already feeling the effects have options, Kumar said.
Allergy shots help decrease the misery of allergies, he said, and significantly reduce the chances of developing asthma in allergic kids. Most insurance covers allergy shots.
He said the shots are now available as allergy drops, which can be taken orally.
However, most insurance plans don't cover the drops, he said, because they are not yet approved by the FDA.