Ragweed Pollen: The Culprit of Most Seasonal Allergies
"A single ragweed plant can produce up to 1-billion pollen grains, and each grain can travel more than 100-miles from its source," warns Dr. Richard W. Weber, M.D., with the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, and also the chair of the ACAAI Aerobiology Committee, an organization that specializes in pollen and mold allergens.
Ragweed's profuse pollen is released in the fall, accounting for 75 to 90-percent of all pollen found from August through to October in some regions, according to Dr. Weber. Usually, the ragweed pollen counts peak in late September through to mid-October.
Allergists want people to know that increasing amounts of ragweed pollen in the air can also trigger life-threatening asthma symptoms - such as wheezing and difficulty breathing - because of irritation to the airways. The American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI) recommends the following actions to minimize ragweed pollen allergy symptoms:
- Begin allergy medications 1 or 2-weeks ahead of the ragweed season. If medication is taken prior to your exposure to pollens, it can help stabilize your immune system before you experience any symptoms. Talk to your family doctor or an allergist about the best medications for you.
- If medications don't provide sufficient relief or if you experience medication side effects, talk to an allergist about allergy shots. Allergy shots can provide long-term relief by stimulating the immune system to fight allergies safely, effectively and naturally.
- When gardening or mowing the lawn, wear a particle mask.
- Take your allergy medications before going outdoors.
- Wear sunglasses to keep pollen from getting into your eyes.
- After being outdoors, bathe and wash your hair, change your clothes and use a nasal salt water rinse to remove pollens.
- Check out your local television or newspaper weather reports for pollen counts and forecasts. When counts are high, avoid outdoor activities.
News Release, July 15, 2005
Source: American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI)