Top Reasons Ragweed Allergy is the Worst

Aug 06, 2015, 03:00 ET from Aprilaire

MADISON, Wis., Aug. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For many allergy sufferers, fall is when the agony begins. There are a number of allergens in the air during autumn, but the most common by far is ragweed pollen. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 10-20 percent of Americans suffer from an allergy to ragweed. So, why is ragweed allergy so common and so hard to escape?

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  1. Ragweed is a prolific pollen producer!
    Ragweed plants release very fine pollen and a whole lot of it. According to Web MD, some scientists estimate that a single ragweed plant can release one billion grains of pollen in a single season.  The light, wind-blown pollen can also travel hundreds of miles under the right conditions.

  2. Ragweed is nearly everywhere
    Considering there are many different species of ragweed plants that grow across the U.S., people in any state can suffer. However, the East and Midwest tend to have the highest levels.

  3. Pollen can sneak inside
    Allergy sufferers like to think of their homes as a safe zone from symptoms, but allergens can stick to clothes, hair and pets, and blow in when the door is opened. Airborne pollen in the house can create an indoor air quality nightmare for people with allergies. 

How to Fight Back Against Hay Fever

For ragweed allergy sufferers, knowing the enemy is the first step in defeating it. Like all allergens, the best first defense is avoiding contact. While people will still need to rely on remedies from their allergist and over-the-counter medicines, here are a few ways to reduce exposure to ragweed pollen.

  1. Live where ragweed isn't: Each year there are various lists that rank some of the worst locations people can live if they have allergies. While avoiding Top Ten cities may help, the lists' producers often warn that escaping one allergy by moving to a new location may backfire by exposing the sufferer to a new (and possibly worse) allergy. Moving may be even more futile when fleeing ragweed pollen because it is disrupted across the U.S. and its pollen travels great distances.

  2. Check the pollen counts: For ragweed allergy suffers, not every day presents the same struggles. Rain, wind and other weather factors can all control how much pollen is actually in the air. Many television weather stations, websites and apps provide detailed pollen count information to help sufferers choose when to venture out and when to stay in.

  3. Keep pollen out of your indoor air: Suffering outside is bad enough but when ragweed pollen gets indoors people can lose sleep and see their quality of life deteriorate. To keep it out, people should remove and wash clothes as soon as they come inside if they've been outdoors for an extended period of time. Ensuring windows and doors are closed also keeps the indoor count low. One of the best solutions, a whole-home air purifier traps airborne ragweed pollen and other irritants so allergy suffers don't breathe them in. Whole-home air purifiers are attached to a home's HVAC system and only require maintenance once a year.

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SOURCE Aprilaire