Ugly plants worst for people with allergies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center says ugly plants are the worst for allergy patients.

Dr. Robert Valet, an allergist and assistant professor of medicine, said plants like ragweed, mugwort, plantain and pigweed produce disproportionate amounts of pollen, which can trigger allergic reactions.

Valet said a single ragweed plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains in a growing season. Of those allergic to pollen-producing plants, 75 percent are allergic to ragweed.

Valet said if flowers smell nice or look pretty, they generally attract insects to spread their pollen, rather than the grains being airborne.

The doctor suggests showering and changing clothes after being outside, using air conditioning instead of opening windows and seeking over-the-counter antihistamine relief before going to a doctor.

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