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Did you know?

Two-thirds of all physician office visits are for ear, nose, throat or allergic problems!


If you find yourself reaching for the tissue box more due to increased sneezing and itchy, watery eyes, you may be one of the nearly 36 million Americans suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as “hay fever”.

The Number One Cause of Fall Hay Fever

Ragweed, the number one cause of fall hay fever symptoms in the United States, is the third and final phase of Mother nature’s annual pollination process.

What Is Ragweed?

Ragweed, a yellow flowering weed, is a member of the Aster Family that often flourishes in disturbed vacant soils which can not support other vegetation. It flourishes during dry hot spells which promote growth and pollen formation. If these conditions continue through late summer then pollen dispersal is very high. The only deterrent to making it difficult for the plant to release its pollen is relative humidity that exceeds 70 percent.

When Is Ragweed Pollen Season?

The pollination of ragweed occurs nearly the same time each year and lasts between six and eight weeks. In north central Texas area (Dallas Fort Worth), the season ranges from mid-August through November or until the first frost.

In many areas, however, ragweed pollen levels usually peak in mid September.

One ragweed plant is capable of producing over a billion grains of pollen per season!! In the United States, it is estimated that ragweed produces 100 million tons of pollen each year. No wonder allergies symptoms run wild in the fall!

Types of Ragweed

Although there are several species of ragweed, most ragweed allergy problems are caused by two species which populate nearly every region in the United States. These two species are Ambrosia aratemisiifolia, also known as short or normal ragweed, and Ambrosia trifida, also known as giant ragweed. Short ragweed can grow to be four feet tall and giant ragweed can grow to be 15 feet tall.

Ragweed is more prevalent in the midwest and central United States. There are few places known to be ragweed-free, although Portland, OR. and Seattle, WA. claim to have no ragweed season. There are cities with very mild seasons such as Salt Lake City, UT. and Bangor, ME.

Cross ReactivityRagweed Cross Reactive with MelonsRagweed Cross Reactive Bananas

The cross-reactive allergens linked to ragweed include honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, banana, and chamomile. Avoidance of these foods is usually recommended to reduce compounding symptoms. A cross-reaction to ragweed pollen may cause oral allergy syndrome, which is itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, throat or roof of the mouth.

Marsh elder, golden rod, and mugwort pollen, ragweed’s botanical relatives, may also cause problems for those allergic to ragweed.

There are also several other flowering weeds that cross react with ragweed. This is why ragweed is bothersome for alot of people.

Preventative Tips

  • To reduce exposure to ragweed pollen, it is best to avoid the outdoors between 5-10 AM and also dry, hot, windy days. The best time to be outside is in the late afternoon or after a heavy rain because pollen levels are lower during these times. Call our Allergy Hotline 972-A.L.L.E.R.G.Y. to get today’s pollen count for the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area! Also check the Daily Pollen Count Here.
  • After being outdoors, it is best to shower and change clothing. Pollen can adhere to clothing, skin, and hair. Be aware that your pet can also transport pollen into your home.
  • The windows in your home and car should be kept closed at all times. An air conditioner, not window or attic fans, should be used to cool the air.
  • An automatic clothes dryer should be used rather than hanging clothes outside for the obvious reasons.

Symptom Relief

Antihistamines, decongestants, and steroid nose sprays are used to alleviate the allergic reactions caused by ragweed. If these don’t work effectively, then immunotherapy may be needed to reduce the body’s sensitivity to the allergen.

If you would like to have allergy testing please call our office at 972-492-6990. Most insurance companies are covering allergy testing.

More Pictures of Ragweed

Ragweed Allergy Testing Dallas Ft.Worth Plano TexasRagweed Pollen Allergy Testing Dallas Ft.Worth Plano Texas

This Month’s Pollen Count