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Get Ready for Ragweed Season

Tips on how to survive the onslaught

FRIDAY, Aug. 5, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Ragweed season is nearly here, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has some tips on how you can prepare for it.

Ragweed can have a serious impact on the lives of allergy sufferers. Each year, ragweed accounts for more than $3 billion in lost production, medications and doctor visits.

"In addition to having a negative effect on your quality of life, uncontrolled symptoms can lead to more serious medical conditions. Without proper diagnosis and management, that annoying little sniffle may trigger asthma or sinusitis," Dr. Christopher C. Randolph, pollen counter with the AAAAI's National Allergy Bureau, said in a prepared statement.

The AAAAI offers the following advice on preparing for the ragweed season:

  • Begin your allergy medications 10 to 14 days before the start of peak ragweed season in your area. Be sure to notify your allergist/immunologist if you have reactions to medications.
  • Before taking herbal supplements or other alternative therapies to treat your allergies, consult with an allergist/immunologist. These treatments can cause potentially serious side effects.
  • Consider allergy shots, which are meant to increase your tolerance to allergens that trigger your allergy symptoms. In some cases, allergy shots (immunotherapy) can safely and effectively reduce the symptoms of ragweed asthma, and may even be more effective than conventional asthma treatment.
  • Continue treatment for two to three weeks after the end of ragweed season to decrease nasal hyper-reactivity that may persist after exposure to ragweed pollen has ended.

More information

The American Lung Association offers a map that shows when ragweed and other allergy-causing pollens are in your region.

SOURCE: AAAAI, news release, August 2005
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