Fall Allergies, Ragweed and Pollen
Summer is ending, you’re heading into fall. But you’re still sneezing and sniffling all day and into the night. What’s going on?
Odds are you’re among the up to 30% of Americans who suffer from hay fever. Most cases are caused by an allergy to fall pollen from plants commonly known as ragweed – there are 17 different species of ragweed in the U.S. alone, and are found throughout the U.S.. Scientists estimate that a single ragweed plant can release one billion grains of pollen over the course of a single season, and the grains are so light that they float easily even on gentle breezes. Pollen has been detected as far as 400 miles out to sea and up to two miles up in the atmosphere!
In most parts of the country, the season now runs from the first of August through mid-October.
How Ragweed Causes Allergies
Like all allergies, a ragweed allergy occurs when the body’s immune system mounts a vigorous response to a foreign substance (that is actually harmless, in this case), tiny grains of pollen released by maturing ragweed flowers. Your immune system reacts to them as if they were a threat. Specialized immune cells start churning out antibodies to proteins in the pollen. The ensuing cascade of biochemical reactions floods the bloodstream with histamine, a compound that causes all-too-familiar allergy symptoms.
In addition to sneezing, sniffling, nasal congestion, and sleep disruption, ragweed allergies can cause red, puffy eyes, itchy throat, and even hives. Severe cases can lead to chronic sinus problems (sinusitis) and even asthma attacks.
Dealing with Ragweed.
While it is impossible to avoid ragweed, there are many over the counter remedies and prescription meds available. If you are wanting to try a more natural approach, the oils in Pepex effectively combat these symptoms.