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Andrew S. Kim, MD
Ragweed Allergies
Allergy & Asthma Center Of Fairfax
. http://www.allergyasthmadoctors.com/

Ragweed Allergies

The beginning of August marks the unofficial start of ragweed season. This means that for the country's more than 30 million seasonal allergy sufferers, more sneezing and wheezing is on the way.

Ragweed grows throughout the United States. It is most prevalent throughout the Northeast, South and Midwest from mid-August to October. A ragweed plant produces one billion pollen grains per average season. These grains can travel up to 400 miles due to their lightweight texture. It commonly grows in fields, along roadsides and in vacant lots.

The following tips for allergy sufferers help reduce their exposure to ragweed

Keep windows closed at all times during ragweed season to prevent pollen from drifting into your home. Use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.

Minimize outdoor activity when pollen counts are high. Peak pollen times are usually between 10 00 a.m. and 4 00 p.m.

Keep your car windows closed when traveling.

Take a shower after spending time outside, pollen can collect on your hair and skin.

Don't hang sheets or clothing outside to dry. Pollens can collect on them as well.

Minimize exposure to other known allergens during ragweed season, since symptoms are the result of a cumulative effect of multiple allergens and non-allergic triggers.

Get up-to-date pollen information for your area from the National Allergy Bureau, www.aaaai.org/nab.

Once exposed to ragweed, allergy sufferers often experience sneezing, congestion, itchy, watery eyes, and itching and dripping of the nose. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as “hayfever,” may contribute to sleep disorders, fatigue and learning problems. In addition, people who suffer from hayfever are at increased risk of having asthma or sinusitis.

It is important to talk to your doctor know how to prevent and control exposure to ragweed.

To help alleviate symptoms, your physician may prescribe medications such as



Antihistamine-decongestant combinations

Mast cell stabilizers

If medication does not give enough relief, your doctor may consider immunotherapy or allergy shots. This approach reduces the allergic response to specific allergens. For allergy immunotherapy to work, the allergens must be carefully identified. Then the allergens are injected over several months to years.

Allergy immunotherapy is the most effective way to deal with your allergies and it has also been shown to reduce likelihood of asthma development in children.

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