Six Tips to Combat Hay Fever Misery

Updated on Thursday, September 1, 2016

If you are someone who suffers from fall allergy symptoms, you might feel like they last longer than they used to. Some theories blame global warming. Research suggests that because of our extended warm seasons, nasal allergy during the ragweed pollen season – also called hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis – lasts up to three weeks longer than it used to, and the further north you live, the longer you have to wait for relief.

Considered the most allergenic of all pollens, ragweed pops up throughout the East and Midwest starting in mid-August. One plant alone can produce up to one billion pollen grains, and each grain can travel more than 100 miles.

One in 10 Americans is affected by the sniffling, sneezing and itching of ragweed allergies. Atlanta Allergy & Asthma specializes in treating people with hay fever, as well as asthma and other allergies. Our 18 board certified allergists, along with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), suggest those who suffer from hay fever follow these six steps for relief:

1.Get a jump start – Mark your calendar to remind you to take medication before ragweed allergy symptoms start. August is when the plant blooms in most of the country, but it’s a little later in the South.

2.Keep the pollen outside out – Ragweed travels with the wind, so close windows in your house and car.

3.Come clean – After spending time outdoors, shower, change and wash your clothes. Clean your nasal passages, too, by using a salt water rinse.

4.Mask your misery – Wear a face mask when you garden or mow the lawn. Better yet, assign those tasks to family members who don’t suffer from hay fever.

5.Consider a cure – If non-prescription medication isn’t doing the trick, it may be time to see an allergist who can provide more effective treatment. One option is immunotherapy – allergy shots. The treatment involves regular injections with pollen allergens. Immunotherapy can significantly lessen or get rid of nasal and eye allergy symptoms altogether. “Allergy shots can not only reduce allergy symptoms and medication use, it can prevent the development of asthma and the development of other allergies,” said Dr. David Tanner, Medical Director for Atlanta Allergy & Asthma. Recently additional treatment options specific to ragweed allergy have become available. Speak with your Atlanta Allergy physician about the therapy best suited for your allergic symptoms.

6.Don’t let up too soon – Because the nasal and eye symptoms of associated with ragweed allergies can linger after the pollen can no longer be detected in the air, don’t stop your allergy medication immediately.

If your allergic symptoms were not well controlled last season, schedule an appointment to speak with one of our 18 board-certified allergists here.