What to take for ragweed allergy
There’s no point in waiting until you’re miserable to take allergy meds, especially if you desire to hold up your outdoor workouts.
In fact, allergists recommend you start taking meds a couple weeks before allergy season arrives, or, at the latest, take them the moment you start having symptoms, says Dr. Parikh.
Taking them early can stop an immune system freak-out before it happens, lessening the severity of symptoms, he adds. Check out the National Allergy Map to figure out when to start taking meds depending on where you live.
As for which allergy meds to take, if you’re seriously stuffed, start with steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Rhinocort, which reduce inflammation-induced stuffiness, says Dr. Keet. And if you’ve got itching, sneezing, and a runny nose, too, glance for non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra, she adds.
Just remember: While OTC allergy meds suppress symptoms, they don’t cure the problem, so they may be less effective if your allergies are worsening, notes Dr. Parikh.
What can I do if my allergy meds aren’t working…or my allergies are getting worse?
If you’re already taking OTC allergy meds (and, you know, keeping your windows closed and washing your face and hair after coming inside), allergy shots, a.k.a. allergen immunotherapy, make your immune system less reactive to allergens (read: pollen), and for some people, they can even induce a cure, says Dr.
“By giving little increasing doses of what you are allergic to, you train the immune system to slowly stop being as allergic,” she says. “This is the best way to address allergies, as it targets the underlying problem and builds your immunity to a specific allergen.”
The downside? Allergy shots are a bit of a time commitment. You’ll need to get them once a week for six to eight months, then once a month for a minimum of two years, says Dr.
Parikh. You need to be a little bit patient, too, because it can take about six months to start feeling better (so if you desire protection by March, you’ll probably own to start in September the year before). But a life without allergies? Sounds worth it to me.
Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance author and editor with almost a decade of experience reporting on every things health, fitness, and travel.
Kristin CanningKristin Canning is the health editor at Women’s Health, where she assigns, edits and reports stories on emerging health research and technology, women’s health conditions, psychology, mental health, wellness entrepreneurs, and the intersection of health and culture for both print and digital.
For the vast majority of people, ragweed is little more than a green and yellow shrub.
But for about 10% of the US population, the plant is a one-way ticket to weeks of misery: a runny nose, streaming eyes, and even hives. The more plants there are, the worse the reaction.
Here’s the bad news: The 2019 ragweed season is underway, and it’s already being described as brutal.
Here’s some worse news: It’s not going to get better anytime soon.
Ragweed thrives in boiling, wet weather—precisely the helpful of summer we now know to be typical of the climate crisis. This year, the US has experienced above-average rainfall, coupled with warm temperatures. Such perfect conditions (for ragweed) beget more plants, producing a longer ragweed season and postponing relief for allergy sufferers.
“The final few years, the trend has been for higher ragweed counts, and part of that is the longer season and general climate warming,” allergist Stanley Fineman told Web MD.
“We anticipate the pollen will be significant this year.”
Expect conditions around the US to worsen as the weeds’ 1 billion pollen grains per plant (!) percolate around the country. Wind makes the reaction worse while helping the plants to propagate their seeds more widely.
Pollen levels generally peak in mid-September, and peel off with the first hard frost of the year. In the tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, that’s likely to come in tardy October; in midwestern states, it’s generally a little earlier.
In southern states such as Texas, it could be as tardy as November.
And if you’re among the fortunate ones who don’t spend autumn with tissues on standby, don’t get too smug. Climate change also is a friend to tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease. Warmer temperatures increase populations of mice and deer—both tasty tick fodder. The tick population rises in turn, increasing the spread of diseases such as Lyme or ehrlichiosis.
Those endless, boiling summers come at a extremely nasty cost.
Pulling on your coziest sweater and strolling through the park sounds love the perfectly way to spend a brisk autumn day — but when that scenario also involves a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a nagging cough, it’s not fairly as enjoyment.
Though numerous people ponder of spring, with its blossoming trees and flowers, as the worst season for allergies, they can get just as bad or even worse for some people when the weather cools, says Edith Schussler, M.D., a pediatric allergist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
The biggest culprit for drop allergies is ragweed — up to 20% of Americans are allergic to the weed that blooms every over the United States.
And it’s a powerful allergen: In fact, just one ragweed plant can produce up to 1 billion grains of pollen during its single-season lifespan. In the past, the high season for ragweed allergies lasted from tardy August through September, but Dr. Schussler points out that that due to changes in weather patterns, the season has gotten longer and more brutal for allergy sufferers.
«We are having these longer, warmer falls, so the pollen sticks around much later in the season, from early August through October,» she explains. «With every that pollen going out, more ragweed is being seeded and growing, so it’s a vicious cycle.» You don’t just discover ragweed in bucolic country settings, either: «There is a lot of ragweed in cities as well, because the carbon dioxide from cars helps it grow,» says Dr.
In addition to ragweed, drop is prime season for indoor and outdoor molds. The fungus can collect up in piles of moist leaves — the extremely ones that kids love to jump in and adults need to rake up every weekend. But you can still enjoy the most beautiful season of the year without wrapping yourself up in a Hazmat suit or hiding in your basement until the first snowfall. Here’s how:
Keep pollen exterior, where it belongs.
You can’t avoid pollen when you’re walking around exterior, but you can do your best to make certain it doesn’t hitch a ride home with you. Wear a cap when outdoors to hold pollen from attaching itself to your hair, and remove cap and shoes when you come inside.
(Also, go ahead and be that person who asks every houseguests to remove their shoes.)
Change immediately into indoor clothes, and rinse off before bed so you don’t trail pollen onto your pillow and sheets. Keeping windows closed and running an air conditioner with a HEPA filter can also assist, suggests Dr.
Keep track of pollen counts.
If you know exactly which allergens you react to (a visit to your allergist can narrow it down), you can hold track of when that pollen is at its highest levels, and plan your outdoor activities accordingly. Download a free app such as Pollen.com’s Allergy Alert, which will give the forecast for specific pollens in your city.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, pollen counts are highest correct after dawn in rural areas; in urban environments, prime sniffle time is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Since rain and freezing weather slow below the release of pollen, your best bet for an outdoor adventure is generally just after a rainfall.
Okay, so when does allergy season 2020 start?
Well, it’s technically *always* allergy season due to year-round offenders such as dust mites, mold, and pet dander, says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. But some allergens–pollens, specifically—are seasonal.
Tree pollen, for example, pops up in the spring (generally in tardy March to April), grass pollen arrives in the tardy spring (around May), weed pollen is most prevalent in the summer (July to August), and ragweed pollen takes over from summer to drop (late August to the first frost), says Dr.
And even worse news: Climate change means allergy season begins earlier and lasts longer, adds Corinne Keet, MD, PhD, a professor and allergist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
To get super-specific, Pollen.com has a National Allergy Map that provides an up-to-date allergy forecast in diverse areas around the country and an Allergy Alert app that gives five-day forecasts with in-depth info on specific allergens, helping you decide if you should stay indoors that day.
Certain areas own also seen a particularly large increase in pollen during allergy season.
In 2019, the New York Times reported on the extreme blankets of pollen that hit North Carolina; Georgia and Chicago also faced especially aggressive allergy seasons too. In Alaska, temperatures are rising so quickly (as in numerous other far northern countries), that the pollen count and season duration are seeing unprecedented growth.
Avoid drop leaves as much as you can.
The best strategy is to avoid raking leaves or mowing the lawn until the drop allergy season is over. But if you’re the family member responsible for yard work, take precautions love wearing goggles and a face mask, suggests Dr.
Modelling in aerobiology makes pollination forecasts based on data of the previous years and on the weather forecasts of the days to come. These forecasts are not based on data recorded previous days/weeks. Modelling allows to get an overview of what to expect for the days to come, even if these forecasts are not 100% dependable. The following links are only for guidance:
— The Alerte pollens app will assist you to live your allergy without staying at home!
Consult the RNSA pollen alerts, advices to handle your allergy day by day and services love weather forecast or air quality. You can configure up to 5 pollens and 5 departments. You can also activate the geolocation which will assist to automatically display informations about the area you travel. Available on Frolic store and Apple store.
— The Pollen app, now available for France, provide a personnal pollen forecast for the 3 days to come in your area, taking into account your informations from the pollen diary and calculate your personnal level of exposure. Symptôms of allergy can be recorded and compared with the pollination in the pollen diary.
Available on Frolic et l'App Store.
There’s no contesting that allergy season is annoying AF. You’re supposed to *finally* be running exterior again or picnicking in the park, but instead, you’re stuck inside trying (key word) to breathe through snot and see through watery, itchy eyes.
And if it feels love your allergies own gotten worse the final few years, you’re not incorrect. After a consistent increase in the intensity and length of allergy season over the final several years (you can blame climate change), allergy season 2020 will likely be worse than usual or potentially the most intense and longest yet if the trend continues.
Allergy symptoms—those watery eyes and stuffy nose, along with sneezing fits, coughing, wheezing, and hive- or eczema-like rashes—happen when your immune system essentially freaks out over an otherwise harmless substance (like pollen). Delightful, huh?
But even if the above symptoms sound every too familiar, there is excellent news: You can fight back against allergies—and the sooner you get started the better. That means knowing when exactly allergy season will start this year, and how to prep your body for any allergen invaders.