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Ragweed pollen is considered to be one of the most allergic of all types of pollen. It is a major cause of hay fever in the northern hemisphere including both the US and in Europe. Because of its widespread growth regions, highly reactive pollen, and ability to be carried for miles on the wind, ragweed pollen ends up being responsible for the majority of fall allergies.
Because of how severe a ragweed allergy reaction is, most people end up resorting to heavy doses of antihistamines, and sheer seclusion within their home during ragweed season months. However, with some practical Avoidance Tips, and a few other resources like an Air Purifier, ragweed season does not have to be as a painful time of year as it has been in the past.
For most people who are trying to determine whether they are allergic to ragweed, a skin prick test will be the quickest way to identify this. However, even though they are quick, skin prick tests lead to a false positive if you are taking medications such as antihistamines.
For those who are willing to endure a needle and blood draw, a blood test can be used to check for the presence of antibodies to ragweed. If you have ragweed antibodies, then it means your body has identified ragweed as a threat to your health, which means you are allergic to it.
The pollen from ragweed plants is one of the smallest pollens that cause hay fever. On average, ragweed pollen is 17 microns in diameter. Grass pollen is around 50 microns. Other highly reactive tree pollens such as birch and cedar are usually 25 microns in size or greater.
The small size of the pollen contributes to its ability to be carried by the wind for hundreds of miles. This can result in one experiencing the symptoms of ragweed allergy even if ragweed is not growing in their local vicinity.
Ragweed plants tend to produce more pollen in years when there has been above average rainfall. In extremely dry springs and summers, the amount of pollen produced can fall significantly.
By paying attention to how much rainfall has occurred in the summer, you can estimate how severe the ragweed season is going to be in the fall.