Ragweed allergy is a condition inflicted by pollen from the flowers of a group of plants called ragweed. The following article discusses the symptoms and treatment options for the same.
For the natives of the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and South America, ragweed allergy seems to be a common condition. Ragweed refers to the plants belonging to a genus under the sunflower family.
Each of these plants is capable of producing about a billion grams of pollen every season. Such pollen is known to be the most potent allergen of all, and hence, these plants are known to be a prime cause of hay fever. As these plants are wind-pollinated, the pollen travels many miles during dry windy days, thereby affected individuals in several regions.
Ragweed allergy occurs due an immune response against the pollen of ragweed flowers. Common symptoms of the allergy may include irritation, stuffy or runny nose, and frequent sneezing. Other symptoms include puffy eyes, itchy and inflamed nose, and throat inflammation. Severe symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbance, asthma attacks, and even chronic sinusitis may also occur.
People who are affected by this allergy have highly sensitive immune systems. They may also suffer an allergic reaction on consuming products such as cantaloupes and bananas. Ragweed allergy seems to be more widespread between the months of August and October.
The first line of treatment is administration of antihistamines. These drugs are available in the form of nasal sprays, oral pills, and eye drops. They are capable of blocking the release of histamines (chemicals release as a response to allergic reaction) in the body. Alternatively, many people find relief using oral as well as nasal decongestants, to counter the symptoms of this kind of allergy. Symptoms and severity of the allergy determines the type of medication to be used, and may vary for each individual.
For those who do not respond to medicines, immunotherapy may be recommended. Here, the allergen is injected into the individual, but in low amounts. The amount of allergen injected is gradually increased, till the body does not mount an immune response against the allergen. This process is effective, but a slow one, and it may take several months to get the desired results. Patients may be advised to avoid bananas, honey, chamomile tea, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, and zucchini.
Incidences of ragweed allergy can be prevented by making use of devices such as HEPA (High-efficiency particulate absorption) filters, air conditioners, and air purifiers. While traveling, it is advisable to be aware of the ragweed season of the different travel stops and destinations. It is also beneficial to keep track of the pollen count of the area you live in.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.