Between 10 and 30 percent of Americans suffer from hay fever and allergic rhinitis brought about by elevated levels of ragweed. Ragweed consists of pollen grains from the plant genus Ambrosia that can travel up to 400 miles on the wind.
Learn about ragweed season
Ragweed is present in every type of environment in all 50 states. It can cause serious allergic reactions from mid-August to late October, when the pollen levels reach their height.
Stay on top of ragweed allergies:
Check Pollen Counts
During spring and summer, pollen levels reach their highest levels in the evening. Ragweed pollen is just the opposite and will reach its peak in the morning during the late summer and early autumn. Be mindful of pollen counts before you head outdoors, and prepare beforehand for troublesome forecasts. Take an FSA-eligible antihistamine (with prescription) or other cold & allergy products.
Create a sterile indoor environment
Once pollen makes its way into your home through your windows or on your clothing, it can be next to impossible to remove it. You'd need to deep clean your house from top to bottom. To ensure that your home is as sterile as possible, keep your windows closed and air conditioning running (with a clean filter). An air purifier or dehumidifier may also help to reduce the frequency of allergic reactions during ragweed season.
After spending an entire afternoon outdoors, ragweed pollen grains will collect on your hair, clothing and other extremities. Pollen can also spread on your home's furnishings and trigger allergic symptoms. When you get home each day, set aside your clothing that has been exposed to the outdoors. Place it in or near the washing machine, and shower to remove ragweed pollen from your hair or skin.
Blowing your nose to expel mucous and other irritants is a must during ragweed season. But, nasal irrigation 1-2 times per day can help, too. Saline solutions or salt water mixtures can clear out nasal passages, reduce inflammation and restore healthy moisture levels to these areas, and improve your overall comfort level.
While spring allergies certainly get a lot more attention when pollen levels peak, winter has its own set of various indoor irritants to trigger those allergy symptoms many of us know all too well. As your furnace kicks in during the winter months, it can send dust mites, mold spores, and insect parts into the air which can find its way to your breathing passages to cause an adverse reaction.
One to way to help mitigate symptoms is to get a better idea of where these allergy triggers are surfacing from. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that particularly love to hide in mattresses and bedding. Their droppings and remains, when airborne, are most likely the source of your symptoms.
Additionally, mold can be found in damp and humid areas such as basements and bathrooms, but can also manifest itself under moldy carpets, soggy drywall, and areas with water leaks. As you spend more time indoors in the winter, these allergens become more prominent in causing discomfort and allergic reactions.
Treatment for your winter allergies can include Antihistamines and Decongestants, both of which are available for purchase with an FSA (with a prescription) on FSAstore.com. Antihistamines help to reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching. Decongestants clear mucus in the nose and lungs to relieve congestion and swelling.
Antihistamines (Prescription required to purchase with FSA):
If neither of these work and your symptoms are serious, you may want to consider immunotherapy, which consists of allergy shots or under-the-tongue tablets. Immunotherapy should expose your body to gradually bigger doses of the allergen to curb your symptoms for the longer term.
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