Ragweed is a plant that releases pollen from August until the end of September. This year, ragweed season started on August 1st. Typically it starts mid-August so we have an early season. The pollen is microscopic and very light. One ragweed plant can produce 1 billion pollen grains! The pollen can travel over 300 miles and remain airborne for days because of its shape and size. An allergy to ragweed pollen is very common and can result in symptoms of itchy eyes, itchy nose, sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and headaches. Skin testing can be done by an allergist to determine if a person is allergic to ragweed. If a patient is allergic to ragweed, avoidance measures like keeping windows closed as much as possible and taking a shower at the end of day can reduce exposure. If a person is still symptomatic, medications like anti histamines and nasal sprays can be effective. Long term treatment for ragweed with immunotherapy, or allergy shots, can be very effective as well.
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