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When pollen is your worst enemy

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, doesn’t have anything to do with a fever, or hay for that matter.

Instead, the watery eyes and stuffy nose are most often due to pollen from the beautiful plants and trees gracing your yard or neighborhood. (The condition was so named because it was discovered during haying season, when its symptoms were most present.)

Warren V. Filley, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, gave us the lowdown on some of the most common allergy-causing plants and trees, and how to spot them.

Ragweed

Where you’ll see it: Fields, riverbanks, roadsides, rural areas

There’s a ton in: the Midwest, the Mississippi River basin

Peak time: Summer and fall

“The most allergenic plant we have is ragweed,” says Dr. Filley, “It is less common on the West Coast or in New England. Therefore there is less pollen in those areas.” About 75% of Americans who have plant allergies are sensitive to ragweed, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

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