RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The fall season is quickly approaching which means pollen is in the air, and doctors like Dr. William Eschenbacher, with Allergy Partners of Richmond, said the pollen season in Richmond has been a robust one so far.

“We’re struck most often by tree pollen,” he said.

Eschenbacher said pollen season usually begins in the spring, but it could happen as early as late January. The pollen season extends into May and through the fall.

“It changes every year depending on rainfall and then ambient weather temperatures. Grass season starts in May and then our biggest challenge in the fall is usually weeds and mold,” he said.

In a ranking of 100 cities, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recently ranked Richmond as the tenth most challenging city to live in with allergies during the fall.

Eschenbacher said part of the reason is the high amount of ragweed the area sees in the fall season.

“Often times we get a significant burden of allergens like ragweed,” he said. “The amount of pollen Richmond sees is quite high related to the hills and valleys around us.”

Eschenbacher added that the growth of other plants and the change in temperatures over time mean worse allergy and asthma symptoms, and said the pollen could trigger a more severe reaction from diseases like eczema and asthma.

That’s why Eschenbacher has been busy with patients lately.

“This year, in particular, has been pretty significant as far as the number of patients that have come in reporting worse allergy seasons and reporting that the medicines they normally take just aren’t as effective as they used to be,” Eschenbacher said.

Some of the symptoms include a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing and itchy or watery eyes.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends closing your windows and using air conditioning when possible.

Also, change your clothes after spending time outside and wear hats, sunglasses and masks outside. It’s best to keep outdoor pets out of the bed.

For anyone experiencing symptoms, Eschenbacher recommends taking oral antihistamines like Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritin. There are also over-the-counter nasal sprays.

“Certain pills that you take once or twice a day or prescription nasal sprays. Some people often end up on allergy shots or allergy immunotherapy,” Eschenbacher said.

He said the pollen won’t slow down until the area reaches a really deep significant freeze, because that’s when a lot of plants lose their potency and their pollen dies off.