You shouldn’t be surprised if you’re sneezing, coughing or getting watery-eyed while reading this article. First, Kentucky is one of the worst places to live in the U.S. for allergies. Second, mid-August marks the start of ragweed season.
While there is no cure for ragweed allergies (also known as hay fever), the following six tips can help decrease both the frequency and severity of your symptoms:
- Stay indoors. Avoid exposure to allergens as much as possible. Wear a face mask when you garden or mow the lawn.
- Check pollen counts: Visit pollen.com to get local and national allergy forecasts.
- Keep your doors and windows closed. An outdoor breeze may feel good, but the pollen you’re allowing to enter your home can make your allergy symptoms worse. Use your air conditioner to filter, cool and dry the air. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) room and furnace filters can also help.
- Wash off the pollen. If you’ve been working in the yard or exercising outdoors, take a shower and change clothes as soon as you come inside to get rid of pollen on your skin and clothing. Clean your nasal passages, too, by using a saltwater rinse.
- Give Fido a bath. Pets can track pollen into your house. Bathe your pets frequently during ragweed season.
- Talk to your doctor. Most medications for allergies can be bought over the counter. Ask your doctor which one is best for you. Antihistamines can help with sneezing or a runny nose, decongestants can help clear mucus out of your nose and nasal sprays can help reduce inflammation in your nose. For long-term relief, your doctor may recommend allergy shots.
Did you know? Ragweed grows in primarily rural areas and releases its pollen around dawn. If you live in one of these areas, your symptoms will be worse in the morning due to your proximity to the plants. Pollen levels in cities and urban areas typically peak between 10 AM and 3 PM as the spores gradually spread through the air.