If you find yourself reaching
for the tissue box more due to increased sneezing and itchy,
watery eyes, you may be one of the nearly 36 million Americans
suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as "hay
The Number One Cause of Fall Hay Fever
Ragweed, the number one cause of fall hay fever symptoms in
the United States, is the third and final phase of Mother nature's
annual pollination process.
What Is Ragweed?
Ragweed, a yellow flowering weed, is a member of the Aster Family
that often flourishes in disturbed vacant soils which can not
support other vegetation. It flourishes during dry hot spells
which promote growth and pollen formation. If these conditions
continue through late summer then pollen dispersal is very high.
The only deterrent to making it difficult for the plant to release
its pollen is relative humidity that exceeds 70 percent.
When Is Ragweed Pollen Season?
The pollination of ragweed occurs nearly the same time each
year and lasts between six and eight weeks. In north central
Texas area (Dallas Fort Worth), the season ranges from mid-August
through November or until the first frost.
many areas, however, ragweed pollen levels usually peak in mid
One ragweed plant is capable of producing over a billion
grains of pollen per season!! In the United States,
it is estimated that ragweed produces 100 million tons of pollen
each year. No wonder allergies symptoms run wild in the fall!
Types of Ragweed
Although there are several species of ragweed, most ragweed
allergy problems are caused by two species which populate nearly
every region in the United States. These two species are Ambrosia
aratemisiifolia, also known as short or normal ragweed, and
Ambrosia trifida, also known as giant ragweed. Short ragweed
can grow to be four feet tall and giant ragweed can grow to
be 15 feet tall.
Ragweed is more prevalent in the midwest and
central United States. There are few places known to be ragweed-free,
although Portland, OR. and Seattle, WA. claim to have no ragweed
season. There are cities with very mild seasons such as Salt
Lake City, UT. and Bangor, ME.
The cross-reactive allergens linked to ragweed include honeydew,
cantaloupe, watermelon, banana, and chamomile.
Avoidance of these foods is usually recommended to reduce compounding
symptoms. A cross-reaction to ragweed pollen may cause oral
allergy syndrome, which is itching or swelling of the lips,
tongue, throat or roof of the mouth.
Marsh elder, golden rod, and mugwort pollen,
ragweed's botanical relatives, may also cause problems for those
allergic to ragweed.
There are also several other flowering weeds that cross react
with ragweed. This is why ragweed is bothersome for alot of
To reduce exposure
to ragweed pollen, it is best to avoid the outdoors between
5-10 AM and also dry, hot, windy days. The best time to be outside
is in the late afternoon or after a heavy rain because pollen
levels are lower during these times. Call
our Allergy Hotline
to get today's pollen count for the Dallas Fort Worth Texas
area! Also check the Daily
Pollen Count Here.
After being outdoors, it is best to shower and change clothing.
Pollen can adhere to clothing, skin, and hair. Be aware that
your pet can also transport pollen into your home.
The windows in your home and car should be kept closed at all
times. An air conditioner, not window or attic fans, should
be used to cool the air.
An automatic clothes dryer should be used rather than hanging
clothes outside for the obvious reasons.
Antihistamines, decongestants, and steroid nose sprays are used
to alleviate the allergic reactions caused by ragweed. If these
don't work effectively, then immunotherapy may be needed to
reduce the body's sensitivity to the allergen.
If you would like to have allergy testing please call our office
at 972-492-6990. Most insurance companies are covering allergy
More Pictures of Ragweed
This Month's Pollen Counts