A Survival Guide to Ragweed Allergy Season

Are you one of the many who struggle from ragweed allergies? You’re not alone. Almost 23 million people in the United States suffer from. Most ragweed pollen blooms mid-August, but it may bloom as early as mid-July. Ragweed allergies are commonly associated with symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, congestion, poor sleep quality, sneezing, and coughing. You can minimize these effects by starting to prepare for it now!

7 Tips for Ragweed Season:

1.Check the pollen counts for your area.

Try to avoid being outdoors on days with high pollen counts. Stay indoors with the windows closed.

2.Start taking prescribed or over-the-counter medications two weeks before ragweed season starts.

In order for your allergy medications to work effectively, you should start taking them about two weeks before ragweed season begins. Talk to your health care provider to see which medications are best for you.

3.Call your doctor now if you’re out of prescription medication refills.

Don’t wait until you start experiencing symptoms. Patients often think they shouldn’t see their provider until they start feeling miserable. This is NOT true. Call before you feel symptomatic so you can be evaluated and tested for allergies. Allergy tests range from skin testing to a simple blood test. Call now and set up an appointment!

4.Keep windows closed at home and in the car.

We all love to enjoy the nice weather and have the windows open but leaving the windows open allows the pollen to get into your home or car.

5.Bathe your pets frequently.

Our pets love playing outside but they end up tracking large amounts of pollen into the home. Bathe your pets frequently to prevent unwanted tracking of pollen.

6.Shower before bed.

We are no different than our pets. Throughout the day we collect pollen and track it into our homes. Shower off before bed so that you don’t bring pollen into the bed at night. This includes washing your face and hair so pollen doesn’t end up on your pillow.

7.Think about starting sublingual immunotherapy.

Sublingual immunotherapy can significantly reduce your experienced symptoms and provide long-term relief! Typically, you want to start immunotherapy prior to the height of the allergy season that affects you the most. However, the sooner the better in order to get the long-term effects of immunotherapy.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Get ahead of ragweed season and get back to enjoying what you love doing!

San Antonio Ranks 4th in U.S. For Severe Fall Allergies

San Antonio has been named as one of five most challenging places in which to live with fall allergies in 2018.

A report released Monday by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked San Antonio fourth among the 100 largest cities in the United States due to its high pollen count, rates of prescription medication use, and the number of allergy specialists located in the area.

In 2017, San Antonio ranked 16th on the list, said Angel Waldron, a consumer health advocate with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, an education, advocacy, and research nonprofit that aims to improve the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies. The organization has published the Allergy Capitals report annually since 2003.

Waldron said during the fall, the South and the Midwest regions of the U.S. dominate the Allergy Capitals list, mostly due to large amounts of ragweed and its ability to easily grow and thrive in the area.

The No. 1 allergy capital for fall 2018 is McAllen, Texas, followed by Louisville, Kentucky, and Jackson, Mississippi. Coming in fifth behind San Antonio is Dayton, Ohio.

Local allergist Dr. Joe Diaz told the Rivard Report on Tuesday it is no surprise that San Antonio made a Top 5 list for places with high rates of allergies. “In San Antonio, patients suffer from allergies year-round because of the climate we have, and because there is always mold in the air. It’s a big allergy capital in the U.S.”

While ragweed is a main cause of fall allergy symptoms across the continental U.S., winter season is the most severe for many local allergy sufferers due to high rates of mountain cedar, Diaz said.

“Mountain cedar, which is really a local and Hill Country tree, pollinates extensively in the middle of the winter. Historically, the pollen counts peak around Christmas Day. There is no other pollen in the air at the time, and the northerly winds blowing in from the Hill Country help cause havoc in San Antonio.”

The best way to treat an allergy, Diaz said, is to avoid exposure by staying indoors during the early morning hours when plants pollinate the most and eliminating indoor allergens including dust mites and pet dander.

Study: San Antonio Ranks 4th in U.S. For Severe Fall Allergies

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Have you ever eaten an apple and had an itchy mouth or throat?  Or perhaps you’ve eaten a big watermelon chunk, and you’re ears feel tingly inside.  (This is what happens to me with watermelon.  It’s very annoying to think you’re eating healthy, only to be plagued with itchy inner-ears.)  The reason for this is likely Oral Allergy Syndrome.  It is also called pollen-food allergy syndrome.  These symptoms; itching, tingling, and swelling of the mouth, lips, and throat and sometimes itchy ears; happen because your immune system can’t tell the difference between the proteins in these food and pollen.

Triggers for Oral Allergy Syndrome:

Although not everyone with a pollen allergy will experience oral allergy syndrome when eating the foods listed below, they are known to be associated with the allergens listed.  Basically, if you are allergic to ragweed, you may have a similar allergic reaction to watermelon, melon, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts.  If you eat these foods during the height of ragweed season, your reaction may be more severe.

Allergen Foods
Birch Pollen Apple, pear, cherry, nectarine, apricot, plum, kiwi, hazelnut, almond, celery, carrot, potato
Mugwort (Sage) Pollen Celery, carrot, spices, sunflower, honey
Grass Pollen Melon, watermelon, orange, tomato, potato, peanut
Ragweed Pollen Watermelon, melon, orange, tomato, potato, peanut
Sycamore (Plane tree) Pollen Hazelnut, peach, apple, melon, kiwi, peanuts, corn, chick pea, lettuce, green beans
Plantain (English) Pollen Melon, watermelon, tomato, orange, kiwi
Dust Mite Shrimp, snail

Treatment Options:

  • Avoid the trigger foods altogether
  • Cook the foods, as heat tends to break down the proteins
  • Sublingual immunotherapy drops for food or inhalant allergies