As many people suffering from pollen allergies will tell you; it is not fun. One of the most serious pollen allergies is to Ragweed. This highly allergenic pollen is hard to control as it is highly transportable in the wind; and the plant itself produces high levels of pollen over long periods of time. Avoiding certain foods will reduce symptoms as will other treatments. This article will explore Ragweed allergies and how to reduce symptoms.
What is Ragweed?
Ragweed is a flowering plant that belongs to the sunflower family. There are more that forty different species of Ragweed around the world and they are mostly found in the warmer climates of North and South America. Ragweed pollen are transported by the wind and carried over vast distances over long periods of time meaning prolonged misery for many suffers. Ragweed pollen is at its most prolific in the late summer to early fall when the plants flower.
Common RagweedCredit: pawpaw67: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luschei/2745399643/Credit: pawpaw67: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luschei/2745399643/
What is Ragweed Allergy and how does it affect me?
Ragweed pollen is highly allergenic. Ragweed pollen is considered by many experts as the most allergenic of all pollens and for this reason can cause allergic reactions in people who are not normally sensitive to pollen. The problem is exacerbated by the wide-spread of the pollen grains which makes Ragweed pollen very difficult to control.
Common Ragweed allergy symptoms mimic those of Hayfever. Sufferers may experience some or all Hayfever symptoms, and with differing degrees of severity. Sometimes more severe symptoms will occur such as allergic Rhinitis. If this occurs then it is advisable to seek professional advice from your doctor as symptoms can progress into Asthma and other conditions.
How to treat Ragweed Allergy: Foods to Avoid.
Treating Ragweed allergy is largely the same as treating Hayfever symptoms. Avoiding direct contact with the plant will dramatically reduce symptoms, however, there is little that can be done to reduce the exposure of Ragweed pollen in the air apart from staying indoors as much as possible during high pollen counts.
Ragweed grows in uncultivated areas of yards so it is worth weeding the plants before the fall to reduce pollen exposure. It may also help to avoid the foods that are most exposed to Ragweed pollen. These foods include Zucchini, Cucumber, dandelion, Sunflower Seeds and any other foods that have been exposed to Ragweed pollen in the air and cross-pollination by bees. If you want to eat these foods wash them throughly before eating (if eating raw). Alternatively remove the skins of fruit and vegetables such as cucumbers and zucchini before eating.
Giant RagweedCredit: pawpaw67: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luschei/2697289507/Credit: pawpaw67: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luschei/2697289507/
Other ways to treat Ragweed Allergies.
Unfortunately there is no cure for Ragweed allergies but there are a number of therapies that can help to reduce the symptoms. Regular medication used for Hayfever often helps symptoms. Brands such as Piriton and other antihistamine tablets will reduce symptoms. Eye drops and nasal sprays can also be used to reduce some of the more severe symptoms of the allergy. If symptoms are particularly severe it is worth considering immunotherapy. This is where small amounts of the allergen (Ragweed pollen) is injected into the body so that it can become less sensitive to the allergen.
Ragweed allergies can spell misery for many sufferers. There are ways to reduce symptoms such as avoiding foods that come into contact with Ragweed pollen. Other treatments such as those used for Hayfever can also help alleviate symptoms.