Peanut harvest stirs up allergies

Published: Sep. 5, 2019 at 6:02 PM CDT
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You may notice yourself coughing, sneezing, and sniffling more than normal over the next several weeks.

Some farmers have already started harvesting peanuts, and a majority of farmers should be starting in the next week or two.

That harvesting will churn up quite a bit of dust that could affect your allergies.

Dr. Beth Weaver from AllSouth Urgent Care tells us that it's not just the dust from the peanut harvest that will aggravate some people's allergies. Higher counts of ragweed and goldenrod will combine to form a triple threat for those with sensitive allergies.

People with pre-existing conditions, especially including asthma, could also be affected easier by the dust. Those with allergy-related asthma could have a greater problem with their wheezing and other symptoms. It's important for those that have allergy-related asthma to stay medicated.

So what causes peanut harvests to be so dusty? Kris Balkcom, peanut specialist at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, tells us it has to do with the soil that the peanuts are planted in. The soil around the Wiregrass is more of a sandy soil, which the peanuts thrive in. That sandy soil also makes it easier to dig up the peanuts at harvest time. Instead of the dirt sticking to the peanuts, the sandy soil comes right off.

The downfall of the sandy soil is it makes quite a dusty mess around harvest time, and that dust really affects our allergies.

The best way to prepare for harvesting season is to anticipate the start of the season, and start medicating then. Continue to stay medicated until at least the first freeze of the season.

Getting medicated and staying medicated is the important step to helping allergy sufferers ease the discomfort this harvest season.