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Late Summer is the Time to Start Preparing for Fall Ragweed Season

Late Summer is the Time to Start Preparing for Fall Ragweed Season

Six tips to combat hay fever misery

Once ragweed allergy season starts, it can feel like there’s no end in sight when it comes to fall allergy misery. Climate change is a big reason why. Research shows that due to climate change, the ragweed pollen season – also called hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis – lasts up to three weeks longer than it used to, and the further north you live, the longer you have to wait for relief.

Considered the most allergenic of all pollens, ragweed pops up throughout the East and Midwest starting in mid-August. One plant alone can produce up to one billion pollen grains, and each grain can travel more than 100 miles.

One in 10 Americans is affected by the sniffling, sneezing and itching of ragweed allergies. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) suggests those who suffer from hay fever follow these six steps for relief:

  1. Get a jump start – Mark your calendar to remind you to take medication before ragweed allergy symptoms start. August is when the plant blooms in most of the country, but it’s a little later in the South.
  2. Keep the pollen outside – Ragweed travels with the wind, so close windows in your house and car when pollen counts are high.
  3. Come clean – After spending time outdoors, shower, change and wash your clothes. Clean your nasal passages, too, by using a saltwater rinse.
  4. Mask your misery – Consider wearing an N95 face mask when you garden or mow the lawn. Better yet, assign those tasks to family members who don’t suffer from hay fever.
  5. Consider a cure – If non-prescription medication isn’t doing the trick, it may be time to see an allergist who can provide more effective treatment. One option is immunotherapy, available in both allergy shots and sublingual (under the tongue) tablets. Immunotherapy builds up immunity to your offending allergens including pollens, dust mites, pets, and mold. The treatment can significantly lessen or get rid of nasal and eye allergy symptoms altogether. Immunotherapy can not only reduce allergy symptoms and medication use, it can prevent the development of asthma and the development of other allergies.
  6. Don’t let up too soon – Because the nasal and eye symptoms associated with ragweed allergies can linger after pollen can no longer be detected in the air, wait several weeks after the first frost to stop your allergy medication.

If you can’t find relief from nasal allergy symptoms, see an allergist. A board-certified allergist can help identify and treat your allergic symptoms and create an action plan so you can live the life you want. For more information about allergies and asthma, and to locate an allergist in your area, visit the ACAAI allergist locator.

 

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