Is Ragweed Making You Sneeze?

10-20% of Americans suffer with a reaction to Ragweed. For the people who are reactive to pollens, 75% of them will be reactive to ragweed.

Symptoms can include runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, nose and throat.  The unofficial kickoff of ragweed season starts August 15th.  The season can last until the frost finally kills the plant.  So the season can be longer in some areas than others.

There are 17 species of ragweed that grow in the US.  Ragweed grows in every state in the US, but the East coast and the Midwest are the hardest hit by ragweed season.  It grows in fields along roadsides, in vacant city lots, yards, etc.  Whether you are in the city or in the country, you will most likely get exposed to ragweed as it is found in abundance in every region of the US, to some degree.

Pollen released from ragweed is the most responsible substance for late summer and early fall runny nose and sneezing symptoms. Towards the end of summer, as nights grow a bit longer and the plants have matured, they are ready to release the pollens. The warmth and humidly after sunrise ensure the release of the pollen into the wind where they can travel for miles.

The pollen grains are very small and lightweight so can travel great distances. Ragweed pollen has been measured in the air 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles up in the atmosphere, but the concentrations are highest near the source of the pollen, which can grow anywhere. Most people will have some exposure to ragweed pollen, even those who do not have it growing in their immediate area.

The good news is that the plant will only live for one season. However, it must release pollen in order to live to the next season in a new plant, so will produce a very high level of pollens to ensure its survival. An average ragweed plant can produce over one million-pollen grains every day and up to one billion pollen grains in the single season of its lifetime. Ragweed seeds can live for decades in the soil and then begin to grow when conditions are right.

If you suffer from symptoms when exposed to ragweed, be prepared for the upcoming ragweed season. Peak pollen times are between 10am – 4pm so try to do any yard work outside of these times to reduce your exposure when outside. Keep your windows closed with the air conditioning on to further reduce your exposure but be aware that ragweed pollen can also get inside your house by sticking to your clothing, shoes, bags, and pets.

There are numerous websites available that will list the pollen levels for different parts of the country. If you want to see what the levels are in your immediate area, pulled up by zip code, try www.pollens.com for a complete listing of pollens and the daily level.

Ragweed season will only last for a few months and then it will be gone again, until next year.

At Absolute Health we offer an advanced therapy that can help relieve or significantly reduce the symptoms associated with ragweed allergies.  This treatment is non-invasive and does not include needles, supplements or medications.  It is completely pain-free and available to all ages, including infants.  If you suffer from ragweed allergy symptoms, please call our office today at 480-991-9945 and find out how we can help.