Every year, summer fun becomes allergy misery for millions of Ohioans because of the pesky ragweed plant. The ragweed plant is a soft-stemmed weed that grows all over the United States, often in rural areas and river banks. Ragweed plants are known to release pollen into the atmosphere to fertilize other ragweed plants. A single ragweed plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains that can travel hundreds of miles in the wind.
Ragweed allergy season usually spans from early August to late October in Ohio, with its peak in September. According to the National Allergy Bureau, the amount of ragweed pollen in the air is typically highest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Cool temperatures and rain can help lower pollen levels.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, ragweed pollen is one of the most common causes of seasonal allergies in Ohio, with three-fourths of all allergy sufferers allergic to it. For people with ragweed allergies, the immune system treats the pollen as a foreign invader, producing chemicals to fight the allergen. This chemical reaction leads to a variety of irritating symptoms. One of the most common symptoms of ragweed allergies is itchy, watery eyes. Other symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy nose and throat, or skin reactions such as dermatitis.
Preventing Allergic Reactions
Keep these best practices in mind to avoid allergic reactions to ragweed:
- Avoid going outside or opening your windows in the morning and early afternoon when pollen counts are at their highest.
- Immediately shower and wash your clothes after wearing them outdoors.
- Bathe your pets frequently.
- Vacuum your home at least once a week to remove pollen that may be inside the home.
- Use an air conditioner continuously to circulate the air within your home.
Treating Ragweed Allergy Symptoms
Ragweed pollen travels through the air, so it is very difficult to avoid. Allergy sufferers often experience ongoing allergic reactions in the late-summer and fall months as a result. Although there is no cure, there are several treatments that can help relieve ragweed allergy symptoms. Over-the-counter medications include allergy eye drops, decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal corticosteroids. Prescription eye drops and prescription medications can also be used if over-the-counter medications are ineffective. A series of immunotherapy allergy shots may also be prescribed if medications aren’t working.
Taking these steps to prevent and treat Ohio ragweed allergies will ensure a safe and happy fall season! If you have questions about your eye health, call our eye experts at 216-574-8900 or schedule an appointment online.