4 FAQ About Ragweed Allergies

Posted on: 7 January 2020

About 23 million people in the United States are allergic to ragweed pollen. This allergy is often referred to as hay fever. If you think you might be allergic to ragweed, or would like to know more about this type of allergy, here are the answers to four frequently asked questions about rag allergies.

1. What Are the Symptoms of Ragweed Allergies?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be allergic to ragweed pollen:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pressure

Some people with ragweed allergies also have swollen skin underneath the eyes that is bluish in color. Others may experience poor quality of sleep and a decreased sense of taste or smell.

2. In What Season Do Ragweed Allergies Occur?

If you have the above symptoms, you may have a respiratory infection. However, if the symptoms occur during ragweed season, you are more than likely allergic to ragweed. Ragweed allergies are seasonal, which means they only occur during certain seasons. Ragweed season usually begins in the middle of summer when ragweed flowers release their pollen. Ragweed season ends with the first hard frost.

3. How Can I Reduce Symptoms Associated with Ragweed Allergies?

Each ragweed plant has the potential to produce up to one billion pollen grains during one season. The sheer number of ragweed pollen makes living with ragweed allergies very difficult. Thankfully, there are some ways for ragweed allergy sufferers to reduce their symptoms.

During ragweed season, people with ragweed allergies should do the following:

  • Keep windows closed at all times
  • Wash clothes after being outside
  • Take a shower before going to bed
  • Wash hands after petting an animal that has been outside

Another way to reduce allergy symptoms is to check the pollen count before venturing outdoors. Certain websites have this information available. When the pollen count is high, it's best to stay indoors. Taking antihistamines and using nasal steroid sprays can help as well. For those with really bad symptoms, allergy shots may be necessary.

4. How Are Ragweed Allergies Diagnosed?

If you're not sure whether you are allergic to ragweed, you can get tested for it. Patch testing is one way to do this. This is a type of skin test that an allergist performs. During patch testing, an allergist applies a diluted allergen to your skin. If red bumps appear, it means you are allergic to that particular allergen. When you know for sure you have a ragweed allergy, you will be able to take the necessary precautions to reduce your symptoms.