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Ragweed: Helping Allergy Season Last a Little Longer

Filed Under: Personal Care at 9:53 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
RagweedI am one of the lucky ones. Unlike many of the people around me, I do not suffer from horrific allergies during the summer months. I don’t wake up every morning in June and July, congested, bleary eyed and miserable. Instead, I save that for September and October. While the rest of my family is pushing aside their tissue boxes and sinus medication, I am hoarding their throwaways, preparing for the coming trauma that is ragweed season.

For those of you who share in my autumnal pain, you already know that ragweed season has begun. August 15 marked the unofficial start, and there’s no end in sight until well into October. For the next several weeks, we are doomed. We will experience endless sneezing, runny noses and swollen, itchy eyes.  We will moan loudly as we drag giant boxes of tissues behind us, taking comfort only when we find others as tortured as us. Of course, doing that shouldn’t be too difficult. Thirty-six million Americans suffer the same fate. So, a massive pity party would be extraordinarily easy to plan. But perhaps that’s not the most constructive use of your time, and you’d rather move on with your daily life than spend hours bemoaning your sinuses.

If that’s the case, kudos! And, I’ve got some help for you. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has released a set of guidelines that will help you minimize the ragweed effect.  First, keep the windows in your home and car closed. Air conditioning will be your godsend until it cools down, and then you won’t need the windows open anymore. Also, minimize your time outside when the pollen count is high (You can find out about the pollen count in your area by checking pollen.com). When it is low and you decide to venture outdoors, stay away from ditches, roadsides, riverbanks, vacant lots and the edges of wooded areas. These are the places ragweed thrives and are, thus, your worst enemy, or one of them. The others are other allergens. Most seasonal allergy symptoms are caused by a combination of allergens, not just ragweed. Exposure to more than one will send you straight back to bed, so don’t seek out all of the sneeze-inducing menaces. And last, take allergy medication. There is nothing wrong with a little help to get you through the day or to get you to sleep. Plus, there are tons of options: tablets, nasal sprays or liquids. In the end, you’ll breathe easier and sniffle less, which is always a good goal.

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