Allergists Offer Ragweed Survival Guide
Hay Fever Relief Possible with Simple Steps!
August marked the start of misery for as many as one in five Americans who suffer from hay fever, also called seasonal allergic rhinitis. That’s because ragweed, the main cause of hay fever, begins blooming around August 15, and, in one day, each plant can produce a million pollen grains that can travel for miles from its source. In all of Central Illinois, high levels of ragweed pollen are expected due to recent weather patterns. Midwest Allergy Sinus Asthma, SC, a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, offers these tips to help sufferers find relief from the sneezing, stuffy nose and watery eyes brought by this pesky weed:
Beat symptoms to the punch:
Get a jump start on ragweed allergy symptoms by taking allergy medications in advance, beginning in early August.
Beware of other allergies that increase suffering:
If you’re allergic to dogs, cats or dust mites you may be even more susceptible to ragweed allergy. New research suggests these allergies “prime” the system, making hay fever suffering even worse. The solution? Get treated for allergies year-round, which will make hay fever easier to tolerate.
Avoid peak exposure time:
To reduce exposure during peak pollen levels, avoid scheduling outdoor activities between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. when ragweed pollen counts are highest.
Sidestep yard work:
Hay fever sufferers should avoid mowing the lawn and raking leaves, two activities that stir up pollen. If you must mow or rake, or are doing other outside activities, such as gardening, wear a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved N95 respirator mask.
Grab some shade(s):
Use style to your allergy advantage. Wear glasses or sunglasses that fit close to your face to keep pollen from irritating your eyes.
Steer clear of irritants:
Reduce your exposure to air pollutants, such as cigarette smoke, insecticides, fertilizers, gasoline fumes, fresh paint and tar, which can worsen your symptoms.