As allergy sufferers, most of us ring in spring with sneezing and sniffling. But springtime isn’t always the worst season for outdoor allergies. Fall is full of flare-ups! Get this: Three out of four people who are allergic to pollen from other trees, weeds, and plants are also allergic to ragweed.1
Ragweed plants start releasing their pollen in August, causing issues well through November, affecting 23 million people across the United States.2 And they are powerful buggers, too, each plant releasing 1 billion pollen grains that can travel up to 400 miles!3
Ragweed is found in almost all states across the country, but can be especially bad in Eastern and Midwestern states. If that’s where you live, then you probably already know the reach of fall’s least-favorite weed. Already in the throes of eye itchiness, throat irritation, congestion, and headache? We’re here to help you find relief right away.
Have an outdoor plan
No one wants fall fun to be foiled by allergies, so it’s important to create a plan for success, says Shayan Vyas, MD, MBA, vice president and medical director at Teladoc Health. Ragweed, which spreads by both insects and wind, is tough to avoid this month—and well into autumn. Check your local “counts” online or in the news so you’re aware when the allergen is at its worst in your area. According to the calendar, you’ll often see ragweed peaks in mid-September.
Typically in rural areas, ragweed counts are highest early in the morning after dawn.1 In urban areas, they tend to peak between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., depending on the weather.1 If counts are high—or you simply find yourself red with itchy eyes and a trash can full of used tissues—stay indoors and use air conditioning only. Same goes for your car travel: Keep those windows up to lessen the amount of allergens you let in.
If you do decide to brave the great outdoors for exercise or yardwork, be sure to change your clothes and shower when you return inside. Also, bathe pets frequently. These pesky pollens can be easily tracked indoors and invade your house. By keeping clean, you’re trying to create a safe zone inside the home.
Treat the pollen problem
Still, for most of us, there’s no escaping ragweed this time of year. “While there’s no simple ‘cure’ for this type of pollen, a physician can help you keep allergic symptoms under control,” explains Dr. Vyas.
Ragweed brings great discomfort to many allergy suffers, and often brings breathing difficulties to those with allergic asthma. So it’s important that you manage this condition with care, treating specific symptoms both before they arise and once they begin. Talk with a Teladoc expert to create a treatment plan, which could involve taking medication before the season even ramps up. Anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, and even nose sprays could help, but speak with a doctor to decide between over-the-counter and prescription options. You might even be a candidate for allergy shots, which can provide longer-term relief from seasonal allergies.
As summer dips into the pool fade from memory, it’s time to plan those apple- and pumpkin-picking adventures. Don’t miss out on fall fun because of allergies. Reach out to Teladoc’s U.S. board-certified physicians 24/7 here to sign in now before you hit up the outdoor orchard. We’ll discuss symptoms, allergy triggers, and options for treatment so you can stay healthy and happy through the first frost—and beyond.