Ragweed Allergies- Helpful Hints

ragweed allergy collage

Things you might not know about Ragweed allergies

If you are unfortunate enough to be allergic to Ragweed, like me, you are definitely not alone. Symptoms may be just a runny nose or watery eyes, but can also be more severe. There are some things you might not know about Ragweed allergies, though, and in this case, what you don’t know CAN hurt you!

You might not know that certain foods can trigger your ragweed allergy. Fruits and vegetables that are harvested during the Fall season can be triggers. Melons such as cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon can cause oral allergy symptoms, like a scratchy throat. Zucchini, cucumber and sunflower seeds can also have this effect.  Some foods that are not as common may include bananas, dandelion and chamomile tea. Just be aware of this so if you eat these foods and notice some allergy symptoms, you can avoid these items during the ragweed season (typically August through the first frost). I find that I usually can’t eat a lot of these foods during the allergy season.

Some folks wear a mask when they go outside. Unfortunately this does not work. There are 17 different species of ragweed in the U.S.  It is estimated that a single ragweed plant can release one billion grains of pollen over a single ragweed season. The grains are so light that they float easily even on gentle breezes. Ragweed is hard to avoid, but there are some things you can do to help yourself.

Pollen counts are highest during the middle of the day (approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Try to stay indoors and use your AC! Even when the temperatures get cooler and there is a nice breeze, do not open up those windows and let that ragweed pollen inside. Remember to change the filters in your cooling system regularly, too. HEPA filters are even better to use.

If you do have to be outdoors for any length of time, try to change your clothes. Taking a shower before bed also helps, because excess pollen can cling to your face and hair. On high pollen days, you can help yourself by pulling your hair back and not using hair spray. I have found this really does help! Nasal rinses or saline nasal spray help nasal irritation, too.

The Ragweed season seems to be getting longer every year, so arm yourself with some knowledge (and maybe medication) to fight this big, bad weed and all the misery it brings.