It’s back . . . Ragweed season starts in August and runs through October. Ragweed pollen is the top cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. Nearly 40 million Americans experience allergic symptoms during ragweed season.
Ragweed grows almost everywhere in the United States, in rural and urban areas alike. To make matters worse, the lightweight pollen grains can travel hundreds of miles in the air.
Follow these tips to minimize your exposure to ragweed pollen this season:
- Don’t dry clothes outdoors because ragweed pollen grains will stick to them.
- Pollen sticks to dry clothes, too. Change clothes and shoes when you get home to avoid spreading the grains indoors.
- Limit your time outdoors between 10 AM and 4 PM; this is the peak time for ragweed pollen.
- Try to limit your time outdoors on windy days.
- To get rid of airborne pollen grains that make their way into your home (and they will), use an air purifier. We recommend that you place the air purifier in your bedroom since that where you spend the most time.
- If you know that you’ll have to spend a lot of time outdoors, start taking antihistamines a few days beforehand.
- After spending time outdoors, take a shower to wash away pollen grains. At the very least, wash your hands and face.
- Remember that pets can also bring pollen into your home. Limit their number of trips outside during ragweed season, and bathe your pets frequently.
- Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible.
- Dust frequently with a damp cloth.
- HEPA vacuums will pick up any pollen grains that stick to your floor and furniture. (If your vacuum doesn’t have a HEPA filter, it will simply stir up pollen grains and not actually capture them.)