Bad allergies right now? Ragweed is probably to blame

Check out how long it will last and what you can do to minimize its impact.

ARKANSAS, USA – Most of us probably associate bad allergies with spring pollen. This makes sense considering that spring is the time of year when trees flower and grass begins to grow. While pollen levels are often high in the spring, they also tend to be high in the early fall due to a completely different culprit.

Ambrosia! It is estimated that about 15 to 25% of Americans suffer from ragweed allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. And we are in high season right now!

Ragweed is actually a weed that grows in 49 of the 50 US states (not Alaska), but it is more common in the central and eastern parts of the country. There are 17 different types of ragweed plants in the United States. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America claims that each ragweed plant can release 1 billion pollen grains! Ragweed pollen is also very light, so it can travel hundreds of kilometers from its original source.

HOW CAN I MINIMIZE ITS IMPACTS?

Here are some things you should know:

  • 75 percent of people with pollen allergies are allergic to ragweed
  • There is no cure for ragweed allergies
  • Ragweed pollen is highest during the morning hours
  • If you are allergic to ragweed, other foods can irritate your mouth from a similar type of protein (melons, bananas, sunflower seeds)
  • Monitor pollen counts
  • Plan your time outdoors when ragweed counts are low
  • Keep your windows closed in your home and car
  • Do not dry laundry outside

For most of the United States, ragweed pollen peaks around mid-September, but it will likely stay with us until our first frost. Ragweed likes cool nights and hot days, which is the weather pattern we are in right now. That, combined with the lack of rain in the forecast, means ragweed allergies will remain very high over the next few days and possibly into October.

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