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Ragweed Woes: How to Win Against One of Pollen’s Worst Offenders

 

Say “ragweed” in a crowded room and you’re sure to hear some groans. Why? Because ragweed is the most common weed pollen allergy, affecting 10 to 20 percent of Americans.

If you have a ragweed pollen allergy, you may already have “hay fever” symptoms. Ragweed pollen season peaks in August and September in most parts of the United States, especially in Eastern and Midwestern states.

Hay fever is also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. Symptoms include:

  • Itching in the nose and eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose (congestion)
  • Runny nose
  • Mucus (phlegm) in the throat (postnasal drip)

Ragweed pollen can be hard to escape from. One reason why ragweed pollen creates so many issues for those with asthma and allergies is because one plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains. That’s a lot of pollen!

Ragweed pollen also travels far. Even if you don’t live in a rural area where ragweed is likely to grow, you can still be affected by it. Ragweed pollen has been found as far as 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles up in the air.

Ragweed pollen has a major impact on those with pollen allergies and allergic asthma. While it’s hard to avoid completely, there are ways you can win against this force of nature.

The best way you can fight ragweed pollen is by preparing before the season begins. Find out when ragweed season is in your area and start taking action before it even starts.

  • See a board-certified allergist. They can confirm your allergy and help you come up with a treatment plan to manage your symptoms.
  • Watch pollen counts. In the late summer, track the pollen in your area so you can know when ragweed starts to rise. You can get your area’s pollen counts from the National Allergy Bureau.
  • Schedule your time outside before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. Ragweed pollen amounts peak in the middle of the day.
  • Use central air conditioning and keep doors and windows closed.
  • Shower and shampoo your hair every night before bed to keep pollen from getting in your bedding.
  • Stick with your treatment plan. Make sure you don’t miss any doses of your medicines.

Medical Review August 2017.

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