MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)— People who suffer from ragweed allergies shouldn’t be surprised to feel a stuffy nose or watery eyes. Doctors say mid-August is the beginning of ragweed season.
So, what is ragweed and what’s it doing to us? Good Question.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, between 10 to 20 percent of Americans are allergic to ragweed – or more specifically, the pollen of ragweed.
Ragweed is a weed that grows in rural areas, as well as ditches, woodlands and urban empty lots. Each plant produce millions of granules that can get into people’s eyes and ears to cause allergy symptoms – like a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing.
“Ragweed pollen is very light so it can travel for miles and miles and miles, so you may try to avoid it, but it will find you,” says Dr. Aaron Pinion, an allergist with Fairview Clinics in Elk River.
Ragweed started pollinating in August and continues through the first freeze.
“There are other weeds that can cause symptoms,” Dr. Pinion says. “But, ragweed is the biggest allergy weed in the state.”
Pinion recommends using over-the counter antihistamines or nasal steroids. He tells patients to start them two weeks before the height of the allergy season to get ahead of the symptoms. Dr. Pinion also suggests trying to avoid ragweed by shutting windows in the home, showering at the end of the day and not going outside in the morning because that’s when ragweed pollinates.