Bad ragweed season expected in Montreal
The early start to the summer season and the extremely dry, hot weather are likely to mean it will be a bad year for those with ragweed allergies, according to Montreal public health officials.
"Warmer weather is clearly associated with a longer pollen season, there's no doubt about it," epidemiologist Dr. Norman King told a news conference on Friday.
The tall weed, which can be recognized by its yellow or gray tips, spreads its pollen late in the summer.
The notorious plant tends to grow in unmaintained fields and yards.
A 2006 public health study found that 16 per cent of Montreal children under the age of 12 suffer from allergies during ragweed season.
Those living in east-end Montreal and on the West Island are particularly susceptible, said King.
"Children who live in a one-kilometre radius of a large concentration of ragweed are more susceptible to problems," he said.
The problem is so worrisome this year, the Montreal Regional Environment Council has asked its Green Team to help inform members of the public.
Consult the Montreal public health department's pollen index
The group of teens helps spread the word about environmental issues.
This year's efforts hit close to home for Chloe Landry, who suffers from ragweed allergies.
"My eyes start to bother me, I have a bit of asthma too - so it gets kind of worse," said Landry. "In August it will be quite horrible and there will be days I can't go outside."
The 18-year-old said she feels it is important to spread the word about how people can help.
"Everyone knows someone who has ragweed allergies," she said. "Even mowing the lawn can help."
Members of the Green Team said it is important to remove the roots of the plant, otherwise it will grow back.
In the Montreal region, property owners are required to rid their land of any ragweed by August 1.