Ragweed Season Is Upon Us

John Bottrell Health Pro
  • Did you know that one ragweed plant can produce up to a billion pollen grains?  It's true.  And a gust of wind can carry a grain of pollen up to 400 miles, which means pollen can even reach you if you're on a boat far away in the ocean.


    It's kind of fascinating when you think about it.  It's fascinating until you realize those little buggers can cause havoc for asthmatic and allergy sufferers.  To most people they are harmless, but to allergic/asthmatics they can cause your typical hay fever symptoms of a stuffy and runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezes and wheezes. 


    When Ragweed season begins and ends depends on the weather and where you live, yet the general consensus is it peaks around the middle of August and continues through October, or the first frost.  Many consider it to be the most common fall asthma trigger.

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    It's another of those asthma triggers that's tricky to avoid.  However, if you're up to the task, there's a few tips that can help you avoid them.  One is to keep track of pollen counts in your area by clicking here.  If pollen counts are high you may be best to stay inside, with the windows closed.  If you want to have the windows open, don't put a fan in the window, as this can blow the pollen into your home.


    Another tip is to change your clothes and take a shower after spending time outdoors.  This is important because pollen can come inside with you.  It's also important to keep track of other people, and pets, that go into and out of your house.  They too can bring in pollen. 


    If your allergies persist despite the above efforts, you can try over the counter antihistamines such as Claritin or Benadryl.  You can also talk to your doctor about getting on an anti-leukotriene antagonist such as Singulair.  Or your doctor may want to try you on both. 


    Of course you'll also want to make sure you work with your doctor on getting on some good asthma controller medications, such as Advair or Symbicort.  And you'll want to make sure you take them exactly as prescribed by your doctor, and not just when you feel sick. 


    I can tell you from personal experience allergic asthma can be a difficult task even for a gallant asthmatic.  Yet by taking charge you should be able to manage your health and enjoy the season.  Good luck.



    1. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, AAAAI.org, Ragweed Plants Packed With Pollen and Ragweed Plants Packed With Pollen Are Back
    2. January W. Payne, "Ready for Ragweed Allergy Season? These 8 Tips Can Help Fight Pollen Allergy," USNews.com,  August, 13, 2009
Published On: August 27, 2012