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The Scoop On Ragweed!

Anyone with allergies and asthma knows the struggles of ragweed! We're all too familiar with allergy and asthma flares, and dread being exposed to those fluffy little white flowers/weeds that disperse with a vengeance air the slightest hint of summer winds!! Watery, itchy eyes, drainage and itchiness of the throat, runny noses, stuffed-and I mean STUFFED noses Ugh! Just one breath please! LOL It's soon to be ragweed season from late summer to early fall, however with seasons being so wonky they come upon us earlier and last longer than ever...Hello climate change! :()

Ragweed plants are most common in the U.S. usually in the east and midwest. They consist of weeds, herbs and shrubs and are considered annuals, meaning they live just once a year-One Time Too Many if you ask me and my lungs! LOL Ragweed first begins to show it's wicked head in the early spring and start to flower in mid August, September being the peak season for ragweed. A season can last from 6-10 weeks depending on where you live and usually subsides by early November.

Just one ragweed plant can produce as many as one billion pollen grains [ those annoying little white puffs that float through the air! ] that end up producing seeds for even more ragweed plants and lodged into out nose, mouth and eyes! Eye Roll! :() Unfortunately for us allergics, this pollen is sticky and collects on our clothes, in our hair and on our skin; which is why it's so important to remove shoes, and change clothes, and keep hair covered or wash hair nightly when you've come in from outdoors during this season.

[ Vanessa is feeling her spring allergies and asthma lately! ]

You'll know if you're allergic to ragweed if you've been tested by a board certified allergist. However; if you're feeling most of these symptoms during ragweed season, it may be that you're allergic. It's always best to be seen by an allergist for an actual diagnosis and detailed treatment.

[ Armed with the number for their allergist and ginger tea-simmered ginger root in water for help take down inflammation, these ladies are prepping for their war on allergies/asthma! ]

What are the treatments for ragweed allergies? Prescription and or over the counter allergy meds that include anti-inflammatory nasal sprays and antihistamines. You can talk with your doctor about the best time to get started on your medications. An allergist is also able to treat your allergies with immunotherapy which are allergy shots or tablets that dissolve under the tongue. Immunotherapy works through adding in the allergens that you're allergic to to build up your immunity. I had allergy shots for years and they helped me tremendously. :)

Outdoor time and ragweed don't mix, unfortunately so it's best to limit your time outdoors ( if possible ). Pollen counts are higher in the mornings, pose dawn, if its windy ( creates bursts of pollen ), and after it rains ( makes pollen heavy and stick to the ground ). It's smart to wear a face mask or a scarf if you must spend time outdoors during this this season.

Asthmatics who also have ragweed allergies must take special care because ragweed exposure can cause an asthma flare. It's believed that ragweed is the culprit for the September Asthma Peak; when asthma related flares and problems spike along with hospitalizations.

Now that you have the scoop, let's deal with the allergic droop! :() Learning more and being better prepared are the keys to a more comfortable allergic season. Remember to keep your Asthma Action Plans up to date, as your meds and steps to take may change as your body changes!! Now let's all take a breath and tackle the pollen seasons like a pro!! Feel free to check out some of our other asthma posts in the links below!

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