By Cindy-lou Schmidt
Well if you live in Ontario, close to Toronto, the answer is yes! If you have been congested, your eyes itching and your throat scratchy since mid-July, you may have a ragweed allergy. This ubiquitous plant is rampant in Ontario and Quebec and is an unwelcome specimen to lawns and fields everywhere. Causing annual epidemics of hay fever for millions, it has even been known to trigger asthma. So what can you do to reduce your symptoms?
Outside of moving to the east or west coast (Call me if you decide to make the jump!), you can help reduce you or your family’s discomfort with a few simple guidelines:
1. Identify the plants early in the summer and pull out these interlopers from your lawn and property by July. This will prevent flowering and the spread of the harmful pollen.
2. If the plants have already begun to spread their pollen, pull or mow those plants down to reduce the seed spread for next year. The seeds can survive for 40 years!
3. Close doors and windows and use the air conditioner along with HEPA filters.
4. If you miss the fresh air and sunshine, avoid having the windows open during the morning when pollen counts are highest and check for the pollen count on your local weather network for days of high pollen activity.
5. Purchase an air purifier for the bedroom. They’re a sound investment by also helping to tackle dust mites and even kill germs.
6. Avoid hanging your clothes out to dry during mid-July to October. Your clothes will turn into a pollen trap!
7. Finally, if you’ve got a serious allergy to ragweed and the usual Claritin doesn’t do enough, see your family doctor who can refer you to an allergist. The allergist will conduct a simple skin test on you. From a program of immunology shots over several months to Pollinex which is a 4 week program taken in July, there could be a good solution for you.
With these tips, I hope that you may be able to find some relief and enjoy the last warm months of the year!
If you have a secret tip on how to reduce ragweed symptoms, please share! Allergy sufferers will thank you (achoo!)