Tips for Getting Along with the Nastiest of Neighbors: Ragweed

In our household, we have multiple food allergies and environmental allergies.  When I lived in Kentucky, my allergies seemed to be worse in the springFantasticallyfreeragweed with all of the tree pollen visibly covering every horizontal surface outside. Living in the midwest, I have gotten acquainted with one of the nastiest neighbors you can have.

You see, our yard backs up to a nature preserve–which is awesome.  However, when our house was being built, the builders cleared a little too much brush and, being the opportunistic weed that it is, ragweed moved in very quickly. You can see it in the center of the photo to the right.

Ragweed is extremely hard to get rid of because it is a rather tenacious and invasive weed, and in our particular circumstance, it lies on  a protected  nature preserve.  This wouldn’t be so bad if our whole family wasn’t allergic to it.

Ragweed is responsible for widespread and severe allergies across the U.S from the late summer/early fall until frost.  Each plant produces about a billion highly-allergenic pollen spores that can be carried by the wind for hundreds of miles.  It is commonly considered to be the most heinous pollen allergens there is. Needless to say, it is very difficult to avoid.

So what do you do to minimize exposure to ragweed?

Here are my top 5 tips for “getting along” with the nastiest of neighbors, ragweed:

1) Stay away from it.  I know that sounds silly and obvious, but if you have a severe ragweed allergy you might want to consider staying indoors during the day, at least.  I have small children, so we do spend a lot of time outside, but we don’t play in the backyard very much when the ragweed is in full-bloom.  Check the weather and stay inside as much as possible when ragweed pollen is high and the air quality is going to be poor, especially if you have asthma in addition to allergies.

2) Change your clothes when you come inside. If you’ve a considerable amount of time outside or just mowed the lawn, you will want to change your clothes so that you aren’t walking around all day covered in pollen.  My grandmother used to dry her clothes on a clothes line, unfortunately, you will want to avoid this if you have a ragweed allergy.  Dry your clothes in the dryer to keep them free from pollen.

3) Take a shower at night.  I shower at night, as do my daughters.  The last thing you want to do is go to bed covered in pollen.  Don’t forget to wash your little kiddos hair at night, too.  You also might want to take it easy on the hair gel and styling products that can be a sticky magnet for ragweed pollen.

4) Keep the windows closed.  As the temperature gets cooler, you might be tempted to turn off the air conditioner and open a window at night.  Don’t do that.  Keep the air condtioner running if you need to, but make sure that doors and windows are closed to keep out the pollen.

5) Filter the air.  You might want to get a HEPA air purifier for you home. Also, be sure to replace your HVAC/Furnace filter and cabin air filter in your car as needed to reduce pollen, as well.

Follow these tips and breathe a little easier this fall.  Do you have some tips you would like to add? Feel free to share your comments below.

Disclaimer: Information on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice.  Please seek the advice of your physician regarding any diagnosis or treatment. Any implementation of the information contained herein is at the reader’s discretion. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for any adverse effects resulting directly or indirectly from information contained on this site

 

 

About Tiffany deSilva

Tiffany deSilva, MSW, CPC, is the Founder of Fantastically Free, a Make Difference Divsion of BrightFire Network, LLC. Tiffany is on a mission to help children, families, and adults live safe, healthy, and happy lives despite food allergies.

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