Ragweed

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Ragweed has the scientific name Ambrosia meaning food for the Greek and Roman gods. I guess they did not suffer from ragweed allergy!

Every Ragweed hay fever sufferer knows that ragweed starts pollinating around mid August. The season peaks around labor day and concludes with a good killing frost.
In the North East, short ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifoli) is the major culprit. Giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifilda) is abundant in the Mississippi river valley.

Ragweed is released in the amounts of millions of pollen grains from each plant, most being released during the early morning. The pollen grains are small enough to be wind borne and have been known to travel as much as 400 miles on wind currents.
Most pollen grains penetrate the upper airway, however some pollen fragments may even reach the lower airways leading to inflammation and symptoms, which most of us recognize as hay fever and asthma. The intensity of symptoms varies depending upon individual sensitivity, and amount of exposure and in some cases can be incapacitating.

The best treatment for Ragweed induced symptoms is avoidance; over the counter antihistamines may be helpful. If symptoms continue a physician should be seen and in most cases will prescribe non sedating antihistamines and topical nasal steroids. If symptoms persist a consultation with an allergist may prove helpful. Allergy Immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be necessary in some situations as it has proven to be helpful in several controlled clinical trials



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Ragweed Pollen Granule

Some artwork used with permission from Bayer Allergy Products