Best Ragweed Allergy Treatment
Are you treating your Ragweed Allergy the best way?
Late summer/early fall is not just the time for brisk mornings, light jackets, the start of football and pumpkin spiced everything. In Colorado, it is also the time where wasps/yellowjackets get stupid-aggressive and mean (as I’ve stated in the past, I HATE these insects).
It’s also the time for Ragweed / fall allergies (which Starbucks does not market nearly as well)!
This blog post is designed to help you, your family, and your friends deal with their Ragweed allergy. It applies to kids and adults, younger and older, Denver Bronco fans and “other” lesser team fans, and everyone else. I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible, but remember you can always ask for personalized Ragweed / fall allergy advice and I’ll give you a customized plan.
What are Fall Allergies?
For most places in North America, fall allergies are due to weeds. Ragweed allergy is probably the biggest fall allergy (although each state has their own nuances and patterns).
Ragweed can start as early as June/July in many places, but it is around Aug-Oct that it tends to peak and cause you to feel so many horrible symptoms!
But don’t worry! After following the guide in this post you’ll be back to enjoying your pumpkin-spiced mornings in no time!
What Does Ragweed Look Like and Where Does Ragweed Come From?
This is usually one of the first questions I get asked: what does ragweed look like and how can I eliminate it so that I don’t have ragweed allergies any more!
The answer is not so simple.
Pollen is carried on the wind for HUNDREDS of miles, and Ragweed itself has been found blown 500 miles out to sea! Similar to how I describe in my Bermuda Grass allergy post, you could take a flame-thrower to all the ragweed in your yard, in your neighbor’s yard, in the park across the street and STILL have ragweed in the air (plus, at some point you’ll be committing arson, I think. But I’m no lawyer)!
So instead of trying to eliminate the ragweed in your yard, work to protect yourself as much as possible.
Non-Medical Ways to Treat Ragweed Allergy
Before adding any medication, I recommend you maximize your natural ragweed allergy treatments first:
- Start tracking ragweed counts on pollen.com or other pollen trackers.
- When the levels are moderate or high:
- Try to keep your windows closed during the daytime and consider running air conditioner (if available)
- If ragweed counts are moderate/high, try to exercise indoors during the daytime if possible
- It is also a good idea to shower at night (to get the pollen out of your hair, clothing, etc before you go to sleep)
- Fully implement the non-medication “in-home remedies” listed here
Maximize your ragweed allergy medications
Most commercials would have you believe that an antihistamine is the cure-all for ragweed allergy. It’s a great medication, provided you pick the right one, but it is actually NOT THE BEST treatment.
The BEST treatment for allergies is actually a NOSE SPRAY.
From there, I try to have people rate their ragweed allergy symptoms on a scale from 1-10 and then escalate care accordingly. This method keeps you feeling as good as possible with as few medications as possible.
Again, I can create a FREE personalized plan for you at any time.
But if you wanted to get a general idea of what to do:
- First, rate your ragweed allergies from 1-10.
- Based on the severity of your symptoms, I would recommend these steps:
Ragweed Allergy Symptoms 1-3 (not bad)
- Usually mild ragweed allergy symptoms are easily treated with exposure reduction and antihistamines with possible need for sinus rinse as another non-medication.
- A generic plan would be:
- Download and implement all of the non-medication steps
- Start the correct antihistamine and take it EVERY DAY (until pollen counts drop back down to low)
- Consider a sinus rinse a few times a week
- BUT WHY settle for a generic plan? If you take 5 minutes to fill out this quiz, I’ll give you a personalized plan tailored just for you (plus you’ll get a free LONG-TERM plan as well)
Ragweed Allergy Symptoms 4-6 (medium to slightly annoying)
- Usually medium ragweed allergy symptoms are still early treated with over the counter medication, but need more medication and more of a regimented plan.
- Your general plan would be:
- Implement ALL of the non-medication steps HERE
- Start a nasal steroid (such as Flonase, Nasonex, Nasacort or Rhinocort) with the following recommended dosing:
- Adults: 1-2 sprays each nostril once a day
- Children: per package insert for age, but 1 spray each nostril once a day
- ADD the correct antihistamine and take it EVERY DAY (until the pollen counts drop to low)
- Consider a sinus rinse a minimum of 2-3 times a week and possibly daily
- Again, WHY settle for a generic plan. You have an allergist at the click of a button! Take this 5 minute quiz and I’ll give you a personalized plan tailored just for you as well as a long-term plan!)
Ragweed Allergy Symptoms 7-10, or possibly up to 11.
- If your ragweed allergy symptoms go to 11, then you are likely very miserable right now! Like, blasting rage-metal music in your head as you as you imagine crushing everyone with your mind type of miserable (or is that just me?).
- Either way, you can feel better with the next 1-2 weeks if you follow this plan:
- Again, implement these home remedies right now!
- You may not think they will help much, but studies show they have similar benefit as ADDING another medication!
- Plus you can do them RIGHT NOW
- Start a nasal steroid if you haven’t been on one already. These will help, but are not fast medications. They often take 4 weeks to reach full strength, and you’re already behind in your symptoms. Still, start it now or increase it if you already have it:
- Adult dose: 2 sprays each nostril once a day (or 1 spray twice a day)
- Children: Per package insert but still 1 spray each nostril once a day
- Start a sinus rinse with a minimum goal of 3 times a week and a maximum of daily.
- Schedule an appointment to see your primary care provider and ask them for:
- Nasal antihistamines, such as astelin, will start to work within 3 days and reach full strength in 2 weeks. You would take this IN ADDITION TO your nasal steroid.
- Possibly consider adding montelukast.
- Possibly an oral steroid, which can buy you 1-2 weeks of relief while the other medications are working.
- Again, this is a generic plan that involves adding a lot of medications. I would suggest you take this 5 minute quiz to get a personalized short term and long term treatment plan and let me ensure you’re on the right path to feeling better.
What about other fall allergies?
I chose Ragweed as the first fall allergen to go through because it is one of the most common. However, the advice listed above works well for any of the fall allergens and the plan is a good one for all fall allergies.
Problems with your current ragweed allergy treatment
If you are having problems with your current ragweed allergy symptoms and would like extra help, please send me an email and I’ll help create a personalized allergy plan for you or your family.