Ragweed allergies are a type of allergic rhinitis in which the afflicted individual has an overactive immune response to the pollen of the ragweed plant. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, between 10 and 20 percent of Americans has an allergy to ragweed, and 75 percent of people allergic to pollen can count ragweed as one of their allergies. Ragweed allergies are often referred to as hay fever, and are most common from August to November when the plant releases its pollen into the wind. Different parts of the country may have different levels of ragweed pollen and moving may ease or worsen symptoms in some people.
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Individuals with a ragweed allergy will likely experience symptoms that affect the eyes. Watery or teary eyes usually develop soon after encountering ragweed pollen. Itchiness around the eyes may also occur and the eyes may appear red or bloodshot. After being exposed to ragweed pollen for a while, the allergy sufferer might develop dark circles and puffiness under the eyes. Eye drops may help relieve some of these symptoms.
Throat and Mouth Issues
Ragweed allergies can cause a sore or itchy throat. Prolonged exposure to ragweed may lead to coughing as well. The inside of the mouth may become dry and itchy and the sensation of taste may decrease. Over the counter lozenges can ease throat pain caused by a ragweed allergy.
Symptoms in the Nose
The nose is highly affected by ragweed allergies. An itchy and runny nose, problems detecting smells and bouts of sneezing may be some of the first symptoms an allergy sufferer notices when exposed to ragweed pollen. After a while, these may lead to nasal congestion and sinus pain. Sometimes, sinusitis, or a sinus infection, takes hold in the damaged sinus passages. People with asthma may encounter more frequent or more severe asthma attacks with exposure to ragweed allergens. Many allergy sufferers who experience nasal symptoms use a decongestant, nasal spray or saline flush to treat these issues.
Some people experience ragweed allergy symptoms that affect other systems in the body. Clogged ears and ear infections can result from a ragweed allergy. Headaches, irritability and fatigue are other symptoms that allergic individuals may encounter. Some people find that their thinking seems fuzzier, and they have more trouble remembering things during allergy season. Antihistamines may help ease these, and all of the other symptoms of ragweed allergies.