Ragweed can be found in the eastern and midwestern United States. In Southwest Ohio, ragweed season begins in late August and can prevail into early October.
Ragweed grains – like most pollens – are released in the morning, peaking at midday. A ragweed grain is 20 to 25 micrometers in diameter. To give you perspective, a human hair has a diameter of approximately 50 – 70 micrometers.
How do you know how much ragweed is in our local air? We at the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency provide pollen counts as a public service. Each morning, Monday through Friday, our technician retrieves the 24-hour collection from our rooftop “Rotorod.” The technician uses a pink dye to make pollen grains visible under the microscope. The technician, using a grid and mathematics, identifies and counts the different pollen grains. The technician uses a specific calculation to account for how long the collection period was. After completing the day’s count, the information is posted on our website, SoutwestOhioAir.org.
How can you survive ragweed season?
- Avoid peak ragweed hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Keep windows closed at home and in the car.
- Change clothes and wash hands after you’ve been outside. Pollen can cling to clothing.
- And, consult with your health care provider for medical advice to manager your symptoms.