Ragweed: When Should You Avoid The Outdoors
Early to mid-August is a dreaded time for certain allergy sufferers. This is about the time ragweed season officially begins. Up to seventy-five percent of Americans with allergies to pollen-producing plants are allergic to ragweed. Ragweed season-to those sufferers-brings on a significant decrease in their quality of life. Unfortunately for those thirty-six million Americans, they will struggle with sneezing, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes until around the first frost. In fact, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that ragweed allergies cost more than three billion dollar each year in work effectiveness, medications and doctor visits.
What is Ragweed?
Ragweed is a weed common throughout much of the United States. It is a stubborn plant that can thrive almost anywhere. It is most often seen in the Northeast, Midwest and South from August until October.
What makes Ragweed so Bad?
Ragweed is almost legendary in its ability to produce pollen. It produces almost one billion pollen grains in a season. Due the lightweight texture of these grains, they can travel almost four hundred miles carried by winds. While these weeds are most often found in rural areas, ragweed can grow almost anywhere. It grows in ditches, fields, roadsides, vacant lots and the edges of woods.
Can a Person Avoid Ragweed Exposure?
There is no cure for ragweed allergy. It is a difficult plant to avoid, but there are things people can do to help themselves. The best prevention is to avoid the pollen, but ragweed pollen is prolific.
Best Ways to Avoid Ragweed Exposure: Avoid Mornings Outdoors
Ragweed pollen peaks most often during the 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. time frame. If at all possible, stay inside during those times. Changes of weather can affect how much pollen is in the air. Rainy weather in the morning, for example, would alleviate some of the pollen for ragweed sufferers. On the other hand, hot, dry, windy mornings are great times for pollen to spread.
Best Ways to Avoid Ragweed Exposure: Track the Area's Pollen Count
Many weather reports on television, radio and the newspaper track the area's pollen count. The internet site for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (www.aaaai.org) would also have that information. If the pollen is high, stay indoors.
Best Ways to Avoid Ragweed Exposure: Stay Inside in Air Conditioning
People with allergies should not leave their home or car windows open when pollen is in the air. Also it is very beneficial to the allergy sufferers to have a HEPA filter attachment to the air conditioner to cut down on pollen inside.
Best Ways to Avoid Ragweed Exposure: Get Away from the Pollen
For people with severe allergies and those whose allergies can lead to asthma attacks it is best to get away from the pollen completely. In the United States, ragweed pollen is not a problem in the Rocky Mountain region, and even the western states are not very bad. It is also a good time to travel abroad-as long as the area visited does not have a ragweed season.
Photo Credit: bob in swamp