I realize that this summer has been a weird one for a lot of people. We had enough rain to keep everything lush and green all the way through August. This never happens in Southwest Oklahoma. Due to the abundant rain and thriving plant life, many people that have never experienced summer allergies spent the last few weeks with a little tickle in their nose and the occasional sneeze. As a fruitful summer now turns to fall, allergy sufferers are doubling down on the misery.

If you woke up monday morning with itchy, watery eyes and sinuses that just won't quit, you're not alone. Lawton is prepping for a massive weather swing. As falls first big cold front pushes this far south, all of the pollen now spawning up north will ride into Southwest Oklahoma on the wind.

If you're curious what's in the air so thick it's making you miserable, the answer is ragweed. Sure, there's some grass pollen too, but ragweed is at an extreme level at the moment, and in the coming weeks, as long as we have 50's and lower 60's temps overnight mixed with warm mid-70's to 90's during the day, the ragweed is going to do what it does best. Spawn pollen.

I was hopeful that the crazy Farmers Almanac September forecast would be correct, they predicted a cool and wet month for us... but as what happens most years, they were wrong. Lawton hasn't had any meaningful or measurable rainfall so far in September. Just a few drops, maybe a tenth that first week headed into Labor Day Weekend.

So what can you do to mitigate fall allergies? Well, everyone is different. I get what the old timers used to call Hay Fever if I spend too much time outside. It can knock me down for a few days, so I spend much of this time of year inside. I stop using my front door so I don't let a bunch of pollen in my living room when I leave and come home. Instead, I use the garage door because it opens into the laundry room where there's not much circulation. Clothes immediately go in the washer and a quick rinse shower can wash the pollen off. I take an allergy pill, sure, but anti-inflammatories make sinus pressure manageable.

If I do have to be outside, mowing the lawn and such, I wear a mask/respirator. I've been doing this long before the pandemic was created and masks made such a spectacle. Oddly enough, the RZ Mask I wear was originally invented by a cyclist who hated staying inside during those ideal fall days due to his allergies. They're cheap, comfortable, and I can testify that they work for me. Mowing grass, woodworking, dusty crafts, etc... I wear it even though it looks weird, but it works. Your mileage may vary.

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