Beware Ragweed Season!

It’s here—the dreaded ragweed season! It typically stretches from early September to the end of October (though some contend that global warming is lengthening its pollinating season). Of all allergens, ragweed is among the most pernicious, causing 23 million Americans to develop allergic rhinitis symptoms.

Allergy during Ragweed Season

It’s hard to get away from ragweed. The flowering plant from the aster family grows in most every part of the country. And even if you don’t encounter an actual ragweed plant, you will likely encounter its pollens. The pollens are particularly light and can be carried by the wind for hundreds of miles.

Ragweed is often found growing in disturbed soil in vacant lots. In fact, in Detroit, residents report a surge in hay fever due to the number of vacant, sporadically landscaped lots there. If left “undisturbed,” other weeds and plants might naturally overtake the ragweed, but when the lawns are mowed intermittently—every few months or so—“competitor plants” are minimized, allowing ragweed to flourish once again.

Ragweed can cause a runny or stuffed up nose, scratchy or sore throat, itchy skin (eczema) or itchy eyes (conjunctivitis). It can also cause wheezing or asthma. If you react to ragweed, you might also experience an “oral allergy” in your mouth when eating apples, bananas, melon, honey, or sunflowers. The proteins in these fruits are so similar to ragweed pollens that it is difficult for the human body to tell them apart. An oral allergy manifests as an itching or tingling in the mouth or throat.

Ragweed sufferers can try to minimize their time spent outdoors during ragweed season. (Check the pollen count on your weather app or at However, since ragweed pollens can waft into your home through a cracked door or hurriedly opened window, there’s no way to completely avoid it.

If ragweed season has you feeling miserable, talk to your doctor about an allergy treatment program using immunotherapy for long-term symptom relief. Your physician may prescribe sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops) or subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). Immunotherapy can help desensitize your body to ragweed pollens so your body discontinues its cycle of uncomfortable allergy symptoms.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.