Ragweed is a flowering plant in the genus Ambrosia. These plants can grow just a few centimeters tall, but they are practically everywhere. While they started in the southwest region of the U.S., they have spread to most every corner of the country.
From August to November, ragweed blossoms produce fine, powdery pollen granules which spread far and wide on the wind. Some studies have stated that a single ragweed plant can produce upward of 1 billion grains of pollen in its short few-month life span. It’s also estimated that one square mile of ragweed plants produces 16 tons of pollen, with peak pollination during the hours of 10 am to 3 pm.
Ragweed is a common allergen. As with other allergens, the body’s immune systems can adversely react to ragweed, mistaking it for a “foreign invader” instead of as the harmless pollen that it is. The body attempts to fight it off by releasing chemicals such as histamine which end up hurting the body and leading to symptoms such as sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and an itchy throat. These combined symptoms are commonly referred to as hay fever. Most cases of fall hay fever are caused by allergies to ragweed. In fact, it has been estimated that about 10 to 30 percent of Americans are allergic to ragweed.
In addition to the aforementioned common allergy symptoms, a person could also suffer from nasal congestion, sleep disruption, red or puffy eyes, and eczema or hives. Severe bouts of hay fever could lead to chronic sinus problems (sinusitis) and even asthma attacks.
If you suspect that you have an allergy to ragweed or other pollens, contact AllergyEasy to find out about no-shots, no-hassle allergy treatment from an AllergyEasy physician near you.