What Are Ragweed Allergies and What Can I Do About It?
If you experience allergy symptoms during the fall season, it’s likely caused by ragweed. Ragweed is a tall, weed-like plant that grows all over rural areas of North America and has a telltale yellow color. Unfortunately, these plants are notorious for releasing tiny grains of pollen during the summer and fall. Some people experience allergy symptoms during this time, meaning going outside for everyday activities can be difficult. If this sounds familiar, then here’s what to know about managing ragweed allergies this fall.
What Causes Ragweed Allergies?
Nearly 25% of Americans have ragweed allergies. Having a ragweed allergy means that your immune system reacts to the pollen mistakenly, producing histamine. Although histamine can effectively fight against the pollen (even though the pollen is harmless), histamines cause the telltale signs of an allergic reaction like itchiness, watery eyes, and sneezing. Ragweed season means that this pollen is pervasive and can be carried in the air in large amounts, depending on your location. For this reason, people with ragweed allergies often experience these symptoms throughout the day, which can be disruptive.
How Can I Treat It?
The most effective way to manage your ragweed allergies is by taking a two-pronged approach. Our ENT specialists can make sure you have the right steps to take during an appointment.
Antihistamines are effective medications that can be bought over the counter at most pharmacies. These work by lowering the amount of histamines present in your body, reducing your symptoms. Although they need to be taken regularly, they are a cheap and effective option to reduce symptoms when you need it. Other options that can help include decongestants to reduce stuffiness and pressure. Some medications contain both antihistamines and decongestants.
Additionally, our ENT specialists can administer a series of allergy shots at our Tuscaloosa office. This is a type of therapy that gradually increases your exposure to an allergen to modify your body’s response. Although it can take time and patience, it can be a long-term way to find complete relief.
There are some steps you can take to reduce your exposure to pollen throughout the summer and fall months. Firstly, be sure to check local weather apps for pollen counts so you can prepare with antihistamines or avoid being outside for long periods of time (or during the middle part of the day). You should also invest in managing the climate inside your living space with dehumidifiers, filters, and air conditioners. Finally, you should keep your living area free of pollen that may be tracked in from outside by vacuuming, regularly washing clothes you wear outside, and showering off any pollen from your hair and skin when you return home. These steps can reduce your exposure to pollen while you’re at home, giving you some relief.
Schedule an Appointment
Our ENT specialists are here to help. To learn more about your allergy treatment options or undergo an allergy test to begin your treatment plan, contact our Tuscaloosa office by calling or filling out our online form.