Ragweed symptoms are caused by the multitude of airborne pollen that give rise to allergies in people. Learn how ragweed symptoms affect your body.
Ragweed plants are weeds with soft stems that are found growing freely all over the United States. In fact, there are at least 17 different species of the plant that grow in North America alone. Found in large quantities in the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the country, ragweed blooms during the months of August through November. When it blooms, a ragweed plant releases its pollen into the air. This results in really high levels of airborne pollen, especially during mid-September.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 20 to 25 percent of Americans are allergic to ragweed. Known as one of the most common causes of seasonal allergies in the country, ragweed pollen triggers the immune system, which mistakes it for a harmful compound in the body. The immune system begins to work overtime to produce chemicals so as to fight off the pollen in the body, even though on its own, the pollen does no harm. This allergic reaction is also known as a type of allergic rhinitis or hay fever. This reaction manifests itself in the form of a number of ragweed symptoms.
Ragweed Symptoms that Affect the Eyes
People who are allergic to ragweed are likely to notice that their eyes are experiencing several ragweed symptoms. These include watery or teary eyes, itchiness around the eye area, as well as heightened redness of the eyes. Furthermore, your eyes may end up looking stuffy and tired, with dark circles, after you have tolerated these ragweed symptoms for a while.
Some of these symptoms may be alleviated with the help of eye drops.
Ragweed Symptoms that Affect the Nose
As with most other pollen allergies, ragweed symptoms specifically affect the nose. After you have been exposed to ragweed for a while, you may notice that your nose is feeling itchy and runny. Many people find it difficult to recognize or detect smells. Bouts of sneezing completes the list of the early ragweed symptoms that affect the nose. Over some time, these ragweed symptoms graduate to nasal congestions, sinus pain, and sometimes, it may even develop into a sinus infection or sinusitis. Perhaps the demographic that is most affected by ragweed symptoms are those who have asthma. Asthmatics are likely to suffer more severe and frequently occurring asthma attacks after being exposed to ragweed pollen.
Some relief from these ragweed symptoms may be found by using a nasal spray, decongestant, or saline flush.
Ragweed Symptoms that Affect the Throat
Early ragweed symptoms that affect the throat include soreness or an itchy feeling in the throat. With prolonged exposure to ragweed, you may even develop a cough. Other than the throat area, ragweed symptoms also affect your mouth making it itchy and dry, and reducing your sense of taste.
Throat pain caused by ragweed allergy may be alleviated with the use of OTC lozenges.
Other Common Ragweed Symptoms
Other than the mouth, throat, eyes, and nose, your ears may also bear the brunt of ragweed symptoms. Many people with ragweed allergies complain of ear infections and clogged ears that are an effect of exposure to ragweed pollen. Allergic people may also notice an increase in the number of headaches they have, along with irritability, fatigue, trouble in concentrating and thinking, etc.
Most ragweed symptoms can be effectively treated with the help of antihistamines.
In some rare cases, individuals may also develop allergic eczema which is characterized by itchy and painful rashes made of small blisters and bumps. In general, such a rash appears within a day or two of exposure to ragweed, and may take over two to three weeks to heal completely. Other irritants can serve to worsen ragweed symptoms. Tobacco smoke, air pollution, and string smells are likely to affect your ragweed symptoms, and make them even worse.
According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), climatic changes over the last few years have extended the duration of the warmer seasons. This allows the ragweed pollen season to go for a longer time, during which even more pollen is created. The high quantity of pollen found in the air further exacerbates ragweed symptoms and allergies.