The Ragweed Facts

By Heather Legg

The ragweed season officially gets its kickoff in mid August, so…it’s here. I have to say I have noticed a little sniffling, sneezing and eye rubbing in my house. Here are a few ragweed facts for you from About.com:Pediatrics:

“• Each ragweed plant produces one billion pollen grains per average season
• Grains can travel up to 400 miles due to their lightweight texture
• Allergy sufferers in urban areas can feel the impact of ragweed because it grows in abundance in vacant lots
• Ragweed commonly grows in fields and along roadsides
• It is most prevalent throughout the Northeast, South and Midwest
• It blooms from mid-August to October”

Ragweed is annoying and resilient, though really not life threatening. There aren’t the dangers of fatalities that come with other allergens, but it does affect quality of life and well being. The discomfort can lead to more serious ailments such as sinus infections and ear infections. A large number of days of work and school are missed, as well as diminished work quality so it pays to decide on an allergy plan and follow through with it. Some people choose to medicate during the entire season, while others choose to only take medication on heavy days. You can check pollen counts on your local news website or on www.weather.com.

Many people choose antihistamines for their control of ragweed symptoms. Talk to your health care professional if you’re not sure which ones to take, as there are quite a few out there, both OTC an prescription. There is a new medication called Allergen Blocker, which is applied to the inside of the nostrils to actually prevent the ragweed (or other allergen for that matter) from getting into your system. It comes in both adult and children forms. Others choose the immunotherapy route or acupuncture. Both of these, however, are best started before the actual season hits. Think about what best fits your lifestyle and health beliefs while choosing a treatment plan.

Ragweed is usually more prevalent when there is more rain, and some parts of the country have gotten quite a lot of rain the past few weeks. Pollen from the ragweed plants has shown to be resilient — it has been measured 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles up in the atmosphere, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.

So get out your tissues and close your windows, the season is here!

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