It's ragweed season again! 🤧😷 People with ragweed allergies react to the pollen in ragweed. It takes just one ragweed plant to release up to a billion pollen grains into the air!!
Cool nights and dry warm days are when ragweed is at its strongest.
The season for ragweed begins in early August and ends in mid October, and it's thought that changes in the climate could be extending the season. Ragweed is common in the Midwest and East, however, it's in EVERY state, because it's light, and the wind carries ragweed pollen far and wide. In fact ragweed pollen has been found as high as two miles up into the atmosphere and as far as 400 miles out to sea.
[ Shoshauna is right, managing asthma can be often intimidating and never ending, but we can do this together with the right knowledge and lifestyle changes along with open communication with our health care providers!🙌🏽 ]
Let's get to protecting ourselves against this troublesome weed, and while completely avoiding ragweed isn't possible, there are ways to limit our exposure to it.
Let's start with tracking Pollen Counts: Use an app for your phone ( check out our post on weather and asthma for more deets on apps under Asthma health & Care ), look at the news weather reports and try to remain indoors or more realistically, limit outdoor time when pollen counts are high.
Avoid Peak Ragweed Hours: Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. are highest times for the greatest exposure to ragweed. Ragweed counts are lower in the early morning and late afternoon.
[ Yes we may miss those soft breezes summer affords, but out lungs won‘t ! ]
I know those summer breezes are worth the season wait, but work to keep windows Closed: Whether in the car or indoors open windows are an invitation to a pollen - attack leading to and allergy or asthma flare. Air conditioning or a single room air conditioning unit will aid in filtering out pollen, particularly one with a HEPA filter.
[ Vanessa is a whole mood today! :() ]
[ Who feels Vanessa’s mood with managing asthma & allergies! ]
This can be annoying, but it’s important to remember to change clothes and wash hands (like we don’t do that enough already💁🏽♀️) after you’ve been outdoors because ragweed sticks to clothing and skin.
Food Triggers: Foods that have similar proteins to ragweed pollen proteins can worsen asthma and allergy symptoms. A few possible food triggers are:
Symptoms of cross- reacting foods can range from itching or burning and or swelling of the tongue, roof of mouth or lips, otherwise known as Oral Allergy Syndrome Also known as ragweed-food cross-reactivity. Each person is different and maybe not all of these foods may cause any reaction for you, this is why it’s important to get to know your body! Avoiding these foods during ragweed season will remedy these effects.
Drying laundry outdoors is an allergy no-no! During ragweed season laundered clothes will pick up pollen allergens.
Get those ragweed allergies properly treated. First make sure you have a ragweed allergy by seeing an allergist who can perform testing and determine treatments.
[ Over the counter saline nasal rinses are a good way to flush pollen from the nasal cavity - check with your doc first to make sure it’s right for you. I use this twice a week, usually unless I’ve been exposed to the outdoors longer than I’ve planned🤧😊 ]
[ Danica May long for time in her yard but during ragweed season she stays ‘asthma-allergy smart’! ]
For many people nasal steroids ( sprays) and or oral antihistamines may be enough to find relied, these are widely available over the counter. For more persistent symptoms that don’t respond to OTC allergy meds an allergist can determine prescription meds to calm and soothe allergy symptoms.
Remember if your doctor agrees, start taking your meds two weeks before ragweed season starts to stop those allergic reactions before they begin!
Allergy shots are another effective alternative for dealing with seasonal allergies, and asthma. I have both asthma/allergies and food allergies and immunotherapy- shots have helped me find relief with asthma management, and be able to consume some foods I couldn't before. These treatments can occur over the course of months or years help your body to develop a tolerance to ragweed ( or what you’ve tested allergic to ), so that it no longer triggers allergic reactions. These treatments can also be taken as oral tablets under the tongue using the same allergens that are in the shots.
While some of these lifestyle adjustments may seem bothersome, focus on the consistant relief you will have and better control gained over allergies
Let’s get allergy smart together and move into feeling better!!