Most people think that spring is the prime-time allergy season. And yes, people do experience allergies in the Spring, but there are more than 23 million Americans who are allergic to ragweed pollen. Which starts to cause a subtle itch in the back of your throat as early as mid-July. According to allergists in Colorado Springs, CO, Ragweed pollen levels usually peak around early September and continue into the middle of October. This is a long time to suffer from ragweed allergy symptoms.
What are the Common Symptoms of Ragweed Allergies?
- itchy, watery eyes
- scratchy throat
- runny nose / congestion
- coughing or wheezing
- asthma symptoms
- sinus pressure, which may cause facial pain
- swollen, bluish-colored skin beneath the eyes
- decreased sense of smell or taste
- poor sleep quality
Many people who live with a ragweed allergy also experience allergic reactions to other foods. The proteins in some types of produce are like the proteins found in certain pollens. These proteins confuse the immune system and cause an allergic reaction. Which makes existing symptoms worse.
One of the key things to avoid is chamomile tea. It’s a popular beverage, but for people suffering from ragweed allergies, chamomile tea can increase the severity of allergy symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, headaches, and irritated eyes.
Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Dehydration will make your allergy symptoms worsen.
Avoid certain foods:
Sunflower seeds, bananas, Echinacea, chamomile tea, melons, cucumbers, and zucchini can all make your allergy symptoms worse. Instead focus on anti-inflammatory foods such as organic vegetables, proteins, wild-caught salmon, or grass-fed beef.
Cleaning and Cleaning Products
Regularly wash your clothing and bed linens during allergy season. Use plant-based and unscented laundry soaps. Fragrances can contain chemicals that can cause additional allergy symptoms. Along with certain soaps, beauty products, and cleaners.
Track the Pollen Reports and Weather Forecasts
Keep track of your local ragweed pollen counts. That way you will know when ragweed season kicks off.
This is a pollen counter if you are interested.
You can watch when we will have higher ragweed pollen levels so you can try to avoid exposure and spend more time indoors. Avoid being outdoors in the morning when allergy counts are highest.
Check the weather forecast. Windy, dry days have higher pollen counts, where rain tends to clear it from the air.
Make Changes in your Lifestyle
- Refrain from going out in the morning. That is when pollen counts are at the highest.
- Get a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) or dehumidifier.
- Use your air conditioner for an extended time into the fall.
- Vacuum your house weekly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
- Wash your clothes immediately after being outdoors. They may have accumulated pollen while outdoors.
- Dry your clothes in a dryer, not outside where they can also gather pollen.
Medications for Ragweed Allergies
Antihistamines – Benadryl or Claritin
Nasal Corticosteroids – Flonase or Nasonex
Decongestants – Sudafed or Afrin
Medications that combine antihistamine and decongestant – Actifed or Claritin D
If medications aren’t working your ENT Doctor may recommend allergy shots. Allergy shots involve a series of injections of the allergen as a form of immunotherapy. The shots help to modify your response to the allergen which helps to reduce the severity of your allergic reactions.
There are also sublingual immunotherapies to treat your ragweed allergies. This involves a pill that contains the allergen. You place it under the tongue and then swallow it and it has similar benefits to allergy shots.
To learn more about stopping your ragweed allergy symptoms make an appointment today!