Ragweed is an umbrella term for several different flowering plants of the genus Ambrosia, all related to aster flowers in the family Asteraceae. They are classified as wildflowers, native to most of continental North America and reach peek bloom in late summer to early fall. During this time, these plants produce huge amounts of airborne pollen that wreak havoc on people with sensitivity to fall allergens. These plants play an important role in our environment with our local pollinators. Since any kind of pollen can trigger allergic responses, it’s important to know the signs of allergic rhinitis and how to treat it to keep the summer fun going all autumn long!

Allergic rhinitis, also known as “hay fever”, is caused by inhaling pollen spores. Pollen can come from almost any type of plant, including trees, wildflowers, and more. Exposure to pollen is extremely common, and most people do not notice the effects. Those with sensitivities to allergens may experience symptoms of hay fever. People with asthma may also be triggered by pollen exposure. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, congestion, runny nose, or itchy/watery eyes. For most people who suffer from ragweed allergies, over-the-counter medications like Claritin®, Benadryl®, and Zyrtec® can provide relief but some may cause drowsiness. For people with extreme allergies, allergy shots or tablets may be recommended by your physician to develop a tolerance over time.

Limiting your exposure can reduce symptoms but can be difficult during peak season. Track pollen counts through your local weather station and avoid outdoors when the count is high. Avoiding outdoors during the afternoon can also reduce symptoms, as pollen counts tend to be higher during these hours. We recommend keeping your windows closed and using a HEPA-certified air filter in your home and vehicle to eliminate airborne pollen indoors.

At Roger’s Family Pharmacy, we know that prevention is key to maintaining overall health and wellness. We carry a wide variety of over-the-counter and prescription allergy relief products to help you get back to enjoying the fall. For those with extreme allergies, we suggest consulting with your primary care physician about the possibility of treating them with allergy shots and if this treatment is right for you. Visit the CDC website on pollen allergies for more information. You may also consult your local pharmacist at Roger’s Family Pharmacy at (601) 582-8351 for additional information.