The start of fall usually promises more comfortable sleeping weather. Unfortunately for many of us, the combination of cool nights and warm days also brings out the ragweed, fall’s most prominent allergy trigger. Since nearly 1 in 5 of us are affected, we thought we’d share with you some facts about ragweed and strategies for managing symptoms.
Some facts about ragweed you may not know:
- A member of the daisy family, ragweed most often grows in fields, gardens, and roadsides, and releases its peak pollen amounts through September and October.
- Each ragweed plant can release about a billion grains of pollen per day, and those grains can travel over 400 miles, just on normal wind currents!
- Over the last 10-15 years, ragweed season has grown longer by about four weeks – most likely because of climate change.
To manage symptoms most effectively:
- Take fall allergy medication 2 weeks before symptoms usually begin.
- After spending time outdoors, shower, change, and wash your clothes.
- When working in the yard or garden, wear a mask – preferably a N95 variety as it offers the highest filtering capability.
- Don’t hang wet laundry outside to air-dry; pollen will stick to it.
- Foods that carry proteins similar to ragweed pollen can intensify symptoms; ones to avoid include bananas, melons, honey, sunflower seeds, and chamomile tea.
- Continue taking allergy medications for 2 weeks after the first frost, as nasal and eye symptoms can linger after ragweed pollen is gone from the air.
If you suspect you have a ragweed allergy but haven’t been diagnosed, you should see an allergist promptly this fall before the season kicks into high gear. If you have a known allergy but aren’t able to manage symptoms, there may be more effective treatments available for you to try! Give us a call to schedule a consult, or head to our website’s allergy page for more information on testing and treatment.
Want more tips? Head to www.sleepfoundation.org