How to Deal with Those Obnoxious Ragweed Allergies

How to Deal with Those Obnoxious Ragweed Allergies

Oh, the coming of fall in North Carolina — the smell of state fair food, gorgeous colors in the mountains and constantly sneezing due to ragweed allergies. While ragweed pollen affects the entire country, we get an extended season here in the south thanks to our warmer climate.

If you’ve been itching, sneezing or clearing your throat for the last few weeks, ragweed pollen might be the problem. You can’t cure your allergies, but you can help make your symptoms better. Here’s some advice.

What are the symptoms of ragweed allergies?

Ragweed allergies effect everyone differently. However, some symptoms are more common than others. Those symptoms include:

  • itchy throat
  • sinus pressure
  • wheezing or coughing
  • itchy eyes
  • puffy or discolored skin underneath the eyes
  • disrupted sleep

Some people might experience more severe reactions, such as difficulty breathing or skin rashes. These conditions necessitate a visit to the doctor, since they could affect your long-term health.

Use Over-the-Counter Medications

These days, there is a wide variety of over-the-counter (OTC) medications available to help allergy symptom sufferers. Many of these medications, such as diphenhydramine or Benadryl, have been around for decades and are safe in most cases.

OTC medications can help treat ragweed allergies.
Image courtesy of Castorly Stock from Pexels.

Speak with your doctor or pharmacist about which OTCs might be right for you. Some medications have important considerations for people taking daily medications or who have underlying health conditions.

Get Allergy Shots

For people with more severe symptoms, medical intervention in the form of allergy shots might be a better option.

A doctor will administer a regulated series of doses of allergens over time. These doses will help the body acclimate to their presence. This is known as desensitization. Over time, your body will build a tolerance to those allergens and cause symptoms to weaken or disappear.

Non-Medical Ways to Soothe Ragweed Allergies

Ragweed pollen is unavoidable in North Carolina. But you can help reduce your exposure to the pollen and improve your body’s response to it. Here are a few ways to help you get through the rest of ragweed allergies season.

Use Online Tools to Track Pollen Counts

These days, it’s easy to know just how bad the pollen problem is outside. Most weather apps and websites have current data and forecasts about ragweed pollen counts. Use this data to decide if it’s a good day for you to be outside.

Keep Car and Home Windows Shut

It may feel like a crime to keep your windows closed when it’s this nice outside. However, if you’re a major sufferer of ragweed allergies, you may want to keep them shut.

Image courtesy of Stephan Seeber from Pexels.

As ragweed pollen comes from outside, shutting your windows limits the amount that drifts into your home. Same goes for your car.

Shower Before Bed

Even if you’ve stayed inside most of the day, you’re still carrying around plenty of ragweed pollen in your hair. That pollen will end up on your pillow and in your sheets if you don’t wash it out. Showering before bed can help you keep your bed free of allergens.

Eat Local Honey

All sweet-tooth residents of the Tar Heel State rejoice: a randomized controlled study found that eating local honey improved allergy symptoms. Importantly, subjects in the study also used the OTC medication loratadine in combination.

Image courtesy of Three-shots from Pexels.

The idea is that local honey contains local pollen clusters, and ingesting it can help the body get used to them. It works like an allergy shot.

While allergy shots have proven effective in multiple clinical trials, the data on local honey is incomplete. But don’t let that stop you from tracking down some local honey and eating a spoonful every now and then.

Get More Vitamin C

Studies dating back to the 1990s found that a moderate dose of vitamin C (around 1,000 mg per day) significantly reduced histamine levels in subjects. That’s great news, as November marks the beginning of the best season for juicy, delicious oranges packed with vitamin C.

Ragweed allergies can be a serious pain, but they don’t have to prevent you from enjoying outdoor scenery across the Tar Heel State. Find solutions that work for you and ways to comfortable enjoy the open air.

Eat enough local honey to feel good about going out? Check out this list of incredible scenic drives in NC. Or, how about some of the best pumpkin patches in central NC for taking those beautiful fall photos?

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