Allergies – no laughing matter!

As I was researching the problems of allergies…

I discovered that ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall.  It starts releasing pollen in August and runs through October.  This is one powerful plant – considered by many to be the greatest allergen of all pollens, It can grow up to five feet tall, and the winds can carry the pollen up to 400 miles.  But what shocked me was that one single ragweed plant can produce up to a BILLION (yes, that’s a B for BILLION) pollen grains.  Holy sneezefest!  In fact:

“A square-mile field of ragweed plants can yield sixteen tons of pollen in a year, yet only a millionth of a gram can start an allergic response of the kind that can send many of us into fits of sneezing, scratching, coughing and wheezing.”*

Fortunately, low morning temperatures and rainfall slow the dreaded pollen’s release, and a frost will kill the plant which eliminates any further distribution.  Later this week we will be discussing ways you can plan to minimize your exposure to the autumn pollen invasion.

I always believe that forewarned is forearmed, and knowing your “enemy” ragweed is certainly critical as you plan a counterattack.  The Weather Channel ( has an allergy tracker that can help you locally determine your daily pollen count. Just plug in your city and state and it will give you a four-day outlook displaying the main allergy trigger of the day.  For example, in my area today the mold is very high, but expected ragweed pollen is low-to-moderate through Thursday. Additionally, the website offers an allergy alert app, which is free and can be downloaded to  iPhone and Android devices, and will provide you a national allergy map.

I hope this information is helpful, and be sure to tune in tomorrow when we will give you some natural alternatives to your allergies, including an “allergy bomb”!  Take care!

*Source: Nesse, R.M. and Williams, G. (1994, Nov/Dec) Nothing to Sneeze At. The Sciences, pgs. 34-38.



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