Usually around this time of the year I am ready for the heat to dwindle and to start wearing sweatshirts at night. Unfortunately, the one thing I don't look forward to are ragweeds, or as I like to refer to them, d*ckweeds. In a nutshell ragweeds are a highly allergenic plant that is capable of producing about a billion grains of pollen over a season. The best part? All these little suckers need to pollinate is a little wind (the bees won't even touch the stuff).
Ragweed season, which lasts from about mid-August to October in many parts of the United States, can (and does) bring misery to the estimated 36 million Americans with seasonal allergic rhinitis (aka hay fever), including me. Symptoms such as sneezing, runny noses, swollen, itchy watery eyes are so severe that it's hard to function normally.
Want to know how to reduce your own exposure to ragweed (and thus your likeliness of getting hay fever)? Then
Here are some tips on how to reduce your exposure:
- Avoid areas where ragweed plants thrive, such as ditches, roadsides, riverbanks, vacant lots, and the edges of wooded areas.
- Keep windows closed during ragweed season in order to prevent pollen from getting into your home. Use air conditioning, which cools, cleans and dries the air.
- Keep your car windows closed.
- Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors when pollen counts are high.
- After you spend time outside, take a shower to wash pollen from your skin and hair.
- Minimize your exposure to other allergens during ragweed season. Hay fever symptoms are often the result of cumulative exposure to multiple allergens.
- Start taking allergy medications 10 to 14 days before peak ragweed season in your area.
- Get up-to-date pollen information from the National Allergy Bureau.