Ragweed Allergy Overview

Ragweed, which started as a North American plant, has spread nearly everywhere on the planet. Ragweed creates and releases tremendous amounts of pollen, a fine dust composed of the plant’s male DNA. Each plant can release as much as one billion grains into the atmosphere!

Ragweed pollen is very light and disseminates by winds, which allows it to travel great distances.

Unfortunately, ragweed pollen, released in early autumn or late summer (August to mid October), triggers hay fever for 20% of the population.

Symptoms

Ragweed pollen causes the following symptoms:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing, sniffing
  • Itchy, red eyes
  • Puffing under the eyes
  • Itchy throat
  • Asthma trigger
  • Hives
  • Skin irritations (rashes, large welts, spots)
  • Possible sinus inflammation

How to Avoid Ragweed Pollen

Complete avoidance may not be possible, but taking the following precautions can restrict exposure:

  • Keep windows shut – use a HEPA filter with central air-conditioning, which not only creates a comfortable, cool environment but also serves to remove pollen from the air.
  • Remain indoors when pollen count is high – counts are reported in the media and online. The counts are lower on days with rain, cold, no wind and both early mornings and late afternoons. (Before 10 am and after 4 pm.)
  • Use a dryer for clothes – pollen can cling to the laundry hung outside.
  • Bathe when entering your home – since pollen can adhere to clothing and skin, change clothes and wash hands. Shower to eliminate pollen from hair
  • Use a nasal irrigator – rinse nose with a salt-water solution from a Neti pot.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods may act as a trigger for ragweed allergy reactions and should be avoided:

  • Melons (e.g. cantaloupe)
  • Bananas
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Artichoke
  • Herbal teas (Echinacea, hibiscus, chamomile)

Also avoid artificial sweeteners and pesticides. (This may include Genetically Modified foods).

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