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Andrew S. Kim, MD
More Than Just a Sniffle Ragweed Allergy
Allergy & Asthma Center Of Fairfax
. http://www.allergyasthmadoctors.com/

More Than Just a Sniffle Ragweed Allergy

Just as allergy sufferers begin feeling relief from the diminishing tree and grass pollen, along comes the start of ragweed season, wreaking havoc on the more than 36 million Americans suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever.” Ragweed can have a devastating effect on the lives of allergy sufferers. Every year, it accounts for more than $3 billion in lost production, medications and doctor visits. Without proper management, allergies may soon be controlling you.

About Ragweed

Each ragweed plant produces one billion pollen grains per average season.

Grains can travel up to 400 miles due to their lightweight texture

Allergy sufferers in urban areas can feel the impact of ragweed because it grows in abundance in vacant lots.

Ragweed commonly grows in fields and along roadsides.

It is most prevalent throughout the Northeast, South and Midwest.

It blooms from mid-August to October.

For most of the country, ragweed starts blooming around August 15, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). The pollen released from ragweed is the airborne allergen most responsible for the onslaught of allergy symptoms. In addition to sneezing and itchy, watery eyes, symptoms caused by ragweed can take a heavy toll on the allergy sufferer's quality of life.

The AAAAI reports that 80% of patients with seasonal allergies experience sleep problems, which can lead to fatigue, loss of concentration and poor performance at work and school. Each year, more than 3.8 million days of work and school are missed due to seasonal allergies.

In addition to having a negative effect on your quality of life, uncontrolled symptoms can lead to more serious medical conditions. Without proper diagnosis and management, that annoying little sniffle may develop into asthma or sinusitis.

It is important for allergy sufferers to consult with their doctor before their allergies get out of control and have a negative affect on their day-to-day activities. Studies have shown that those under the care of an allergist/immunologist make fewer visits to emergency rooms and are better able to manage their symptoms.

What an Allergist/Immunologist Can Do For You

To help prevent allergy symptoms from controlling your life, an allergist/immunologist will

Work to accurately diagnose your condition by taking a thorough patient history, including information about your symptoms, family history and home and work environment

Conduct allergy skin tests and any other needed tests

Help you develop an appropriate management plan

Prescribe the most cost-effective treatment, including recommendations for particular medications and/or devices and any needed environmental control measures.

For updated pollen counts in your area, visit the National Allergy Bureau web site, www.aaaai.org/nab.

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