Like Treats Like: Ragweed To Treat Allergies
Spring conjures images of life renewed, flowery blooms, love and mating. But for one in five people, it means shutting the windows, missed days at work, and the annual pilgrimage to the local pharmacy to pick up allergy medications, antihistamines, decongestants, combination allergy medicines, and anti-inflammatory medications all with a list of possible adverse reactions, precautions and contraindications. The fact that none offers a cure but only relief is of no matter, because when allergies strike it is relief that is so desperately sought.
Ragweed Pollen & Climate Change
Its important to understand that;ragweed allergy season isnt the same as it was several decades ago, though. In fact, they are becoming more ubiquitous just check out this image from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
Science shows us that climate change;is one of the reasons were seeing extended allergy seasons and higher pollen counts. With changing;climates and temperatures shifts, allergens are able to creep into areas they didnt previously occupy. As a result, people living in areas where ragweed pollen wasnt much of a problem before;are now finding themselves fighting allergies.
Additionally, because more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually nourishes plants, ragweed plants are now growing bigger and producing more pollen than ever before .
And if you think allergies are mainly in rural areas, think again. Ragweed actually thrives in urban and suburban environments. Temperatures tend to be higher in these places because buildings and pavement heat and then re-radiate it more slowly back than open spaces.
Living with a ragweed allergy, also commonly known as hay fever, can be miserable. Often beginning in mid-July and lasting into November in the U.S., ragweed allergy season is actually becoming more intense and longer due to climate change. Symptoms include running nose, itchy, watery, swollen eyes, sneezing, and even allergy-induced asthma.
What Are Ragweed Allergy Symptoms
If youre wondering what to expect during that season, symptoms of a ragweed allergy are similar to any other seasonal allergy symptoms. Most commonly, people deal with:
- Itchy or irritated eyes
- Scratchy throat
Typically, the symptoms are more annoying than they are totally debilitating. But, for people who have asthma, allergy season can kick those symptoms up a notchleading to more coughing and wheezing.
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What Is Ragweed Allergy
According to the CDC, ragweed pollen is one of the most common causes of seasonal allergies. A single plant can produce up to one billion pollen grains. These grains are very lightweight and float easily through the air. The immune system makes a special type of defense protein, called IgE , against ragweed. When ragweed blooms, pollen attaches to these IgE antibodies, and this triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals in the body. These chemicals cause allergy symptoms. The ragweed allergy season usually spans from early August to late October, with its peak in September.
Diagnosis of ragweed allergy
Ragweed allergy may be confirmed by a skin prick test. During this test, a small amount of the allergen is introduced to the immune system and the reaction is observed.
While there is no âcureâ for ragweed allergies, a positive test result may help the allergy doctor recommend anti-allergy medications.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Ragweed Allergy
A ragweed allergy can manifest itself by various symptoms, including the following:
- nasal congestion
- itchy eyes, nose, throat, roof of the mouth, and ears
- watery eyes, and
These unpleasant symptoms can significantly affect quality of life. In some cases, it may become difficult to carry on everyday activities. Sometimes, other related problems appear such as insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating, worsened asthma, or infection, such as sinusitis.
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Ragweed Pollen Is Almost Everywhere
A single ragweed plant can produce about a billion grains of pollen per season; the pollen is then transported on the wind. Ragweed;causes about half of all cases of pollen-associated hay fever ;also called allergic rhinitis ;in North America.
Ragweed pollen can remain airborne for days and travel great distances, affecting people hundreds of miles away. It can even be carried 300 to 400 miles out to sea.
When And Why You Might Need To Seek Help From An Allergist For Immunotherapy
If late summer into fall causes your eyes to itch and nose to run, you could be suffering from a ragweed allergy. Just one ragweed plant can release up to 1 billion pollen grains, and those grains can travel hundreds of miles. If youre experiencing irritating symptoms, you may wish to see an allergist who can help you find the right combination of solutions.
About 16 percent of Americans are sensitive to ragweed pollen, Ryszard Dworski, M.D., medical director for Vanderbilts Allergy, Sinus, and Asthma Program. Symptoms can really compromise quality of life.
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Stop Ragweed From Ragging On You
If youre allergic to ragweed pollen, youre not alone. This plant is notorious for triggering sniffling, sneezing, and itching.
The good news is that you can do something about it. Use this information to get back into the great outdoors when the weather is nicewithout your dreaded allergy symptoms ruining your day.
What Are The Benefits Of Breathing Healthy Air And What Are Everyday Things That People Can Do To Breathe The Fullness Of Life
Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americansover 135 million peopleare living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.
One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Lung.org. Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.
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Can Ragweed Allergy Cause Itchy Skin Or Hives
Unfortunately yes. Along with other allergy symptoms, like sneezing and itchy eyes, ragweed can cause itchy skin and hives. Ragweed-related itchiness may also be accompanied by rashes. In addition to reducing your exposure to ragweed by limiting time outdoors, antihistamines can help reduce your ragweed related allergy symptoms.;To learn more about itchy skin and hives, read Curist team member Waverlys story about her experiences diagnosing and treating itchy skin.
How To Spot And Treat Oral Allergy Syndrome
You may already know that youâre allergic to ragweed or that certain types of tree pollen make you wheezy. But did you know that certain foods can trigger the same kinds of allergic reactions? Oral Allergy Syndrome is caused by cross-reacting allergens that are found in both the pollen and certain raw fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, spices, seeds, and tree nuts.
Have you wondered why eating celery causes your tongue to feel strange? Does munching on hazelnuts or walnuts cause your throat to tighten? If you have a tree pollen allergy, you may be suffering from Oral Allergy Syndrome! The same may be true for people allergic to ragweed, Mugwort, and other weeds and grasses, who have a sensitivity to certain foods. Understanding the pollen/food connection can solve the mystery of adult-onset food allergies and save you from a lot of dietary grief.
Take The Right Medications Before Your Allergy Season
Modern medicine can give you some relief, and theres a whole range of medications that can help you out.
For starters, youll want to look into an antihistamine. Its a medication that blocks the effects of histamine in your body . Antihistamines are most effective when you take them ahead of your typical allergy season. So, if ragweed is your trigger, youll want to start with an antihistamine in July or August.
Things You May Not Know About Ragweed Pollen Allergy
If you have a ragweed pollen allergy, it helps to know what you are up against. If you live in the U.S., you probably feel the effects of ragweed pollen in the late summer and fall. Here are some things you may not know about ragweed.
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When Is Ragweed Season
Mid-September is when ragweed pollen counts are usually at their peak. The season typically lasts 6-10 weeks depending on your location. Ragweed season will end once temperatures drop below freezing for a few weeks. Ragweed usually goes away by early November.
Ragweed pollen is believed to be one of the primary reasons for the a time in mid-September when asthma-related hospitalizations spike. It happens soon after children go back to school and are exposed to more allergens as well as respiratory illnesses.
When Does Ragweed Season Officially Begin
Ragweed season begins as summer nights become cooler and longer. This typically occurs in mid-August, but climate change is; causing allergy season to begin sooner and last longer. Some cities are bracing themselves for a ragweed season beginning in early August, meaning people with allergies should begin preparing for ragweed season in July! Some allergy treatments, like Curist Allergy Nasal Spray, take up to two weeks to fully build a defense against allergens, so Curist Medical Advisor Dr. Marc Goldstein recommends starting a few weeks prior to the start of the ragweed season for maximum benefit.;
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Activities Create Biggest Risks
She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation.;
The airport also presents other problems for travelers.
Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future.;
Why Does Ragweed Pollen Cause Allergic Reactions
People with allergies might have more sensitive immune systems that fight allergens, thinking theyre harmful foreign substances, such as viruses or bacteria. When you have a ragweed allergy and breathe in the pollen, your body defends itself against the invader , and the reaction leads to allergy symptoms.
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Ragweed Control: How To Get Rid Of Ragweed
Ragweed is an annual and perennial shrub that thrives in heavy and poorly maintained soil. Ragweed is pretty easy to identify on lawns due to its unique appearance of feathery, green leaves that look similar to ferns and upright growth pattern.
Ragweed pollen is a common allergen with a single plant having the ability to produce over a billion grains of pollen per season. The pollen is easily transported into the wind. As a result, the presence of ragweed in a lawn or garden can cause hay fever and various allergy symptoms, including a runny nose, hacking cough, persistent sneezing, and red, puffy eyes.
There are around 17 species of Ragweed across the U.S. with the most widespread being Common Ragweed and Giant Ragweed. Ragweed survives mostly in human-impacted or disturbed areas. This plant thrives on parking lots, on the sides of highways, in agriculture, and urban areas.
If it is ragweed season and you’re having trouble with this invasive species on your lawn, our DIY Ragweed treatment guide can help. The directions below were recommended by our lawn care experts and will show you how to properly get rid of Ragweed from your property.
Dealing With Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies suck, no one denies that. And, unfortunately, this article can’t diagnose your allergies, just like it can’t cure your symptoms if you come in contact with ragweed pollen. How that happens is between you and your doctor.
But understanding when a ragweed pollen allergy most often strikes, and the steps you can take to reduce irritating symptoms are a great way to move towards living a happier and healthier life.
And Felix makes getting your allergy medication easier, no pants needed â unless you have to grab the package from a community mailbox, then pants are definitely recommended.
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Natural Remedies For Grass And Ragweed Allergies
Sniffle, cough, achoo! If the sounds of allergies have returned to your home, take heart. You dont have to let ragweed and grass allergy symptoms prevent you from enjoying fresh air. Learn about 6 effective herbal cures that can help you breathe easier – even when the pollen count is high…For millions of people, the first sign of seasonal allergies is a runny nose, sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes. Thats the immune system overreacting to grass, tree and ragweed pollen, and producing inflammatory chemicals called histamines. In other words, hay fever. Officially called seasonal allergic rhinitis, hay fever symptoms affect one in five people, and can lead to problems as serious as asthma attacks or ear and sinus infections, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases . Over-the-counter and prescription allergy remedies can help, but sometimes cause side effects of their own, says Honolulu naturopathic physician Laurie Steelsmith, N.D., author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health .They speed you up, slow you down, make your head feel fuzzy, dehydrate your sinus membranes and give you cotton mouth, she says.;That’s one reason to consider;adding herbal cures to your anti-allergy war chest. They can be gentler and reduce hay fever symptoms with fewer side effects, Steelsmith says.
How Is It Diagnosed
If you think you are allergic to ragweed pollen, see a board-certified allergist. They will ask you about your medical history, do a physical exam and allergy testing. They may do a skin prick test to confirm your allergy.
For prick/scratch testing, the doctor or nurse places a small drop containing ragweed pollen on your skin. They will then lightly prick or scratch your skin with a needle through the drop. If you are sensitive to ragweed, you will develop redness, swelling and itching at the test site within 15 minutes. Sometimes your doctor may take a blood test to see if you have the antibody to ragweed.
What Is A Ragweed Pollen Allergy
The job of your immune system is to find foreign substances, like viruses and bacteria, and get rid of them. This response normally protects us from harmful diseases. People with allergies have immune systems that react when they come in contact with allergens. When you are allergic to ragweed pollen and inhale it from the air, rhinitis symptoms show up.
Seventeen types of ragweed grow in North America. Ragweed also belongs to a larger family of plants that can spread pollen by wind. These plants can also cause symptoms.
Members of this plant family include:
- Mucus in the throat ;
Holistic Ragweed Allergy Treatments
Holistic allergists provide natural, painless testing techniques and treatments that are effective and results-oriented.
All holistic fields of medicine are aligned in their approach to treating the whole body, unlike conventional medicine, which is geared to treat acute symptoms with pharmaceuticals and thus has difficulty treating chronic problems ;Holistic medical doctors share the understanding that health conditions develop as a result of interference in the proper functioning of a persons body caused by various forms of stress.; That stress may be due to allergies or sensitivities to harmless substances; or may be due to stresses on the body from viruses or bacteria or cancer; or may be due to physical stresses such as broken bones, lacerations, or over-exertion; or due to emotional stressors or other factors. Holistic allergy treatments look to reduce the stress or interference specific allergens are triggering in specific organs within your body.
Although there are different holistic approaches to allergy testing and treatments, this article will focus on one of them as an example.
Sorry Snacking On Ragweed Doesnt Work Either
This ones a rumor, too. Theres no evidence it works at all. Youre better off not munching on ragweed, because you might get a big surprise: an allergic skin reaction called dermatitis.
Dermatitis occurs when your skin touches something youre sensitive or allergic to, such as poison ivy, perfume, or a cleaning product; after which your skin can become red, itchy, or swollen.
Tell Us About The Fight For Air Climb
The American Lung Associations Fight For Air Climb is the nations premier stair climbing challenge. At 38 events nationwide, children and adults of all ages participate in this celebratory stair-climbing adventure. Pre-pandemic, the Fight For Air Climb was held in several of our countrys most iconic skyscrapers. This year, the Lung Association invited participants outdoors for a one-of-a-kind adventure to support healthy lungs and clean air. In fact, Dale was among the companys team of more than 50 employees that climbed the stairs at Milwaukees American Family Field on May 22nd, proving he puts his feet, time, and talent behind causes he supports.
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