Just when you thought hay fever season was almost overget ready for ragweed season. Allergy sufferers are finally feeling a bit of relief from this year's allergy season, where we saw record high tree and grass pollen counts. But get ready, things are about to get worse again because ragweed season is here.
Ragweed pollen season has started and will prove to be another tough few months for any late summer/fall allergy sufferers. The unofficial kickoff of ragweed season is August 15th and continues through October. For the 36 million unlucky Americans who suffer from ragweedallergies, this will mean more frequent sneezing and stuffy or runny nose along with itchy and watering eyes commonly known as allergic rhinitis.
If you suffer from a ragweed allergy, be prepared for a particularly nasty ragweed season. The hot, dry summer will most likely cause very high ragweed pollen counts. Even though your windows might be closed to keep the pollen outside, it can also get inside your house by sticking to your clothing, shoes, bags, and pets. Peak pollen times are usually between 10 a.m. 4 p.m.
Pollen released from ragweed is the airborne pollen allergen most responsible for late summer and early fall allergy symptoms. Remarkably, an average ragweed plant can produce over one million-pollen grains every day and up to one billion pollen grains in the lifetime of the plant. This is a major issue because the pollen grains are extremely lightweight and can get carried up to 400 miles away from their original source.
Another problem with ragweed is that it is virtually everywhere. It grows in fields, along roadsides, in vacant city lots, yards, etc. Whether you are in the city or in the country, you will get exposed to ragweed as it is found in abundance in every region of the US.
“Ragweed is a stubborn plant that can grow anywhere. Ragweed pollen is an important cause of fall allergy symptoms,” said Richard Nicklas, MD, Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
While not everyone exposed to ragweed will develop an allergy to the pollen, contact with ragweed pollen can stimulate a reaction in some people that can worsen other symptoms like sinusitis with an increase in congestion or asthma with an increase in wheezing, shortness of breath or a cough. Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is a big problem in the fall with ragweed being the main culprit. If you suffer from late summer and fall allergy symptoms, get ready.
AAAAI reports on Allergic Rhinitis
People with allergic rhinitis miss 3.8 million days of work and school each year
More than one-third of allergy sufferers said allergic rhinitis decreases their work effectiveness
80% of patients with seasonal allergies experience sleep problems, which can lead to fatigue, loss of concentration and poor performance at school and work
Over 16.7 million visits to office-based physicians each year are attributed to allergic rhinitis
Lost work and school days, medications and physician office visits related to allergic rhinitis total more than $3 billion annually in the United States