We are well into fall allergies in Dallas, and that means ragweed pollen levels are high.
Ragweed is the most common weed causing allergy symptoms, affecting more than 23 million Americans. It can begin pollinating as early as July in some states, but typically appears in mid-August, and peaks in mid-September. Depending on weather, it can stick around as late as November.
What makes ragweed so potent? A single plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains! The grains are also very light weight and travel far with wind.
Ragweed can cause typical hay fever symptoms such as eye irritation, stuffy nose, runny nose, and post nasal drip. It can also worsen asthma symptoms, producing cough, wheeze, chest tighness, and/or shortness of breath.
The key to controlling symptoms is first made by diagnosis. Allergy skin testing can help aid your allergist in identifying what you are allergic to.
Ragweed peaks midday, so it is best to plan outdoor activities before 10am or after 3pm. Also remember to remove shoes indoors to help prevent tracking of ragweed pollen through your home. Wear clean clothes to bed to minimize ragweed exposure while you sleep.
Medications, including antihistamines and nasal sprays can be used to help control symptoms. Allergy injections or sublingual immunotherapy can also be used to help lessen the frequency and severity of your allergy symptoms.
Fun fact: Alaska is the only state where ragweed doesn't grow!