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I Think I’m Allergic To Ragweeds. What Should I Do?

I Think I’m Allergic To Ragweeds. What Should I Do?

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Written by:
Dr. Shuba Iyengar, MD, MPH
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Dr. Shuba Iyengar, MD, MPH
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Shuba completed medical school at Duke University, earning her MPH in tandem at UNC. After a research fellowship at the NIH, Shuba completed her residency at Stanford, then fellowship in allergy-immunology at Boston Childrens/Harvard.

Shuba returned to the Bay Area to join Dr. Bocian at a large multi-speciality health system where she helped lead an allergy practice. She cofounded Allermi to make expert allergy care more accessible for all.

Ragweed is a common weed that grows in North America and Europe. It can grow up to 5 feet tall and has green leaves, small flowers, and a distinctive odor.

While some people may not have any reaction to ragweed, others can be highly allergic to it.

RAGWEED POLLEN ALLERGY

Ragweed pollen is one of the most common causes of seasonal allergies. When people with ragweed allergies inhale the pollen, their immune system overreacts and produces symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and throat, and congestion.

The pollen from ragweed plants can travel for hundreds of miles, which means even if you don't live near a ragweed plant, you can still be affected by its pollen.

Ragweed season typically runs from August to November, peaking in mid-September.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND RAGWEEDS

The plant, which belongs to the genus Ambrosia, produces tiny grains that are released into the air during the summer and fall seasons. These grains can travel long distances and can trigger allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to them.

The science behind ragweed pollen lies in its protein composition. The pollen grains contain several allergenic proteins that can cause the body's immune system to overreact, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. One particular protein, Amb a 1, has been identified as the primary allergen in ragweed pollen.

Scientists have been studying the molecular structure of Amb a 1 to better understand how it triggers an allergic response. They have found that the protein has a unique shape that allows it to bind with specific immune cells, known as T cells, and trigger the release of histamine and other inflammatory molecules. This, in turn, causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Understanding the science behind ragweed pollen is crucial for developing effective treatments for allergies. Researchers are currently exploring various approaches, including immunotherapy and new medications, to help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
 

WHAT STATES HAVE THE MOST RAGWEED POLLEN?

According to recent research, the states with the worst ragweed pollen are predominantly located in the Midwest and the South.

These states include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. If you live in any of these states, it is essential to take precautions during the fall season to avoid exposure to ragweed pollen. 

It is important to note that ragweed pollen can travel long distances, so even if you do not live in one of the states mentioned above, you may still be at risk of exposure. It is always best to consult with an allergy specialist if you suspect that you have ragweed allergies, as they can provide you with personalized advice and treatment options to help manage your symptoms.

MANAGING RAGWEED ALLERGIES: TIPS AND TRICKS

To avoid ragweed allergies, it's best to try to stay indoors during peak pollen times, keep windows and doors closed, and use air conditioning. You can also take over-the-counter allergy pills. Most allergists would recommend saline and medicated nasal sprays over pills, since allergy pills generally make people feel less itchy, but don’t really make the problem any better.  Nasal sprays go to where the problem is, have less side effects, and have less absorption into the bloodstream. Nasal irrigation involves flushing out your nasal passages with a saline solution. Allergy shots can also help alleviate symptoms, but will take many months to take effect and are recommended as a long-term, rather than short-term, strategy. Our Allermi nasal spray combines multiple FDA approved ingredients tailored to your specific symptoms. 

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, some people with ragweed allergies may experience fatigue, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. Ragweed allergies can also exacerbate asthma symptoms.

It's important to note that ragweed is not the only plant that can cause seasonal allergies. Other common allergens include tree pollen, grass pollen, and mold spores. If you're not sure what's causing your allergies, an allergist can perform skin prick testing to identify the specific allergens that are affecting you.

Overall, ragweed allergies can be uncomfortable and disruptive, but with the right care and management, you can still enjoy the outdoors during ragweed season without suffering from allergies.
 

RAGWEED FAQ

What is ragweed?
Ragweed is a type of weed that is found all over North America. It is known for producing pollen that can cause severe allergies in many people.

When does ragweed season start?
Ragweed season typically starts in mid-August and lasts until the first frost. During this time, ragweed plants release pollen into the air, which can cause allergic reactions.

What are the symptoms of ragweed allergy?
The symptoms of ragweed allergy can include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion. In some cases, people may also experience headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.

Can ragweed allergy be prevented?
While it may not be possible to completely prevent ragweed allergy, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of exposure. These include avoiding outdoor activities during peak pollen season, keeping windows closed in your home and car, and using air filters to remove pollen from the air.

CUSTOMIZED ALLERGY TREATMENT AT HOME:

Using multiple over-the-counter allergy treatments is not ideal for getting through Ragweed allergens. Most allergists recommend and prescribe nasal sprays. This is because they are considered to be more effective. Nasal sprays go right to the nose to reduce inflammation and prevent it from spreading to the eyes and sinuses. Also, because nasal sprays go directly to the nasal tissue and not the rest of the body, they also usually have far less side-effects than pills.
Skip the drugstore and get a personalized all-in-one allergy treatment from the comfort of your home. 

Allermi is a customized nasal spray designed by experienced, board-certified allergists to solve your unique seasonal allergy symptoms. The Allermi formula is backed by science to give you the most effective allergy treatment for your individual allergy symptoms. 

The best part? Allermi nasal spray is easy to use and delivered right to your door.