If you have allergies that seem to flare up only in the fall, then it is wise to speak with an allergy specialist about having an allergy test completed. A simple prick, patch, or blood test will be performed. If you are like the 50 million other people in the United States who have seasonal allergies, then you are likely to have one the more common ailments, which is an allergy to ragweed. Keep reading why it is hard to avoid ragweed pollen and also learn about some tips that will help you reduce your allergy symptoms.

Why Is Ragweed Hard To Avoid?

Ragweed is a very common fall weed allergy that plagues Americans, and ragweed is extremely hard to avoid. There are 17 different species of ragweed and most of the weeds are concentrated within the eastern and midwestern parts of the country. However, ragweed may be found in the southern and western parts of the country as well. In fact, ragweed can even be found in the state of Arizona, where many allergy sufferers find refuge from their illness. One single plant can release billions of pollen grains. The pollen grains are quite small and can easily travel through the air for several days. It is not uncommon for the pollen to travel up to 400 miles, even off the coast of the sea. This means that pollen allergies may follow you if you take a seaside adventure or look for relief in an area that is nowhere near a ragweed plant.

To make things worse, the ragweed season used to be relatively short with pollen being released from the middle of August through the month of September. However, many areas are seeing ragweed releasing pollen at the beginning of August through to the middle or end of October. Not only does this mean that you will suffer from allergies for a longer period of time, but more pollen will mean more ragweed plants to release pollen the following year.

How Can You Reduce Pollen Exposure?

It may be extremely difficult to avoid ragweed pollen altogether, but you can reduce the amount of the grains that you are exposed to. By reducing your exposure, you can reduce your allergy symptoms significantly. This is the case, because your body will release more and more histamine as more and more pollen enters the body. As histamine levels increase, inflammation and mucus production increase as well to help the body get rid of the pollen. To help reduce your exposure to pollen, try to stay indoors when pollen levels are the highest during the months of August, September, and October. Pollen is highest between 5 AM and 10 AM and also when the wind is strong and when there is little moisture in the air. 

You also should keep windows closed in your home and car and use air conditioning instead. However, your air conditioner will not work effectively as pollen continually gums up the filters. Either change or clean air filters at the very beginning of August to reduce this concern. Also, it may be time to invest in HEPA filters throughout the ragweed season. This may not always be ideal, since the filters tend to block the flow of air coming into the air conditioner. Your air conditioner will then use more electricity, and this is one reason why you should use the HEPA filters only when ragweed pollen is in the air.

Cleaning your house regularly with wet cleaners, washing your hair and clothes after being outside, and wiping down pets that have been outdoors are also things that can help reduce pollen exposure. If you find that your attempts to reduce allergy symptoms simply do not work, then speak with an allergy specialist like Diane L. Ozog, MD, SC about allergy shot therapy or drug therapy that can assist you.