Allergy, Common Ragweed

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Common ragweed or Ambrosia artemisiifolia is a herb with lacy leaves. It is known by many names, such as hogweed, blackweed, Roman wormwood, stammerwort, hayfever weed, and wild tansy. The plant appears in late Spring, and its pollen can travel hundreds of miles via wind. The ragweed pollen is one of the most common causes of seasonal allergies as it develops an adverse immune response in many people.

The immune system is programmed to detect harmful viruses and bacteria and defend itself against them. Despite many known health benefits of ragweed, the immune system can identify its pollens as invaders. This can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Symptoms of allergic reactions to common ragweed allergen include:

  • Itching sensation in the throat
  • Watery and itchy eyes 
  • Congestion and runny nose 
  • Wheezing 
  • Coughing 
  • Facial pain due to sinus pressure 
  • Poor quality of sleep 
  • Swollen undereye skin with bluish colour 
  • Reduced sense of taste or smell

Exposure to the common ragweed allergen for too long may cause eczema in some patients. This is a painful version of the itchy rash, where bumps and blisters may appear on the skin after 24-48 hours.

In most cases, the symptoms may go away on their own in two to three weeks. However, poor lifestyle choices and using substances like strong perfumes and tobacco can aggravate the condition. Even air pollution can make common ragweed allergies worse.

Your doctor can diagnose the common ragweed allergy via the ragweed allergy IgE blood test. This test measures the specific count of the common ragweed allergen-specific IgE antibodies in the patient’s blood sample.

Apollo 24|7 provides a comprehensive common ragweed allergy test, in which the lab technician visits you to collect the blood sample. The most common method of collecting it is by drawing blood from the vein of your arm using the venipuncture method.

The testing is done with the Thermo Fisher ImmunoCAP or ImmunoCAP allergy testing method. The test results may take about three to six days to arrive or may take longer, depending on the weather.

For most people, ragweed allergy may be a lifetime problem once developed. If you are diagnosed with a common ragweed allergy, you may have to consume the antihistamine tablets 12 weeks before the ragweed season every year.

Your doctor may also prescribe nasal steroids, which are one of the best and most common treatments for this. For milder symptoms, doctors may prescribe an over-the-counter oral antihistamine. 

 Medically reviewed by Dr Jatin Ahuja, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals Indraprastha, South Delhi.


faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the benefits of common ragweed?

Common ragweed has been a popular herb among herbalists for relieving nausea, fever, and menstrual discomfort. The root of the plant is also believed to have laxative properties. Ragweed juice obtained from crushing the leaves is useful in treating poison ivy rashes and insect bites. You can even eat the seeds of the plant if you do not suffer from a common ragweed allergy.

When can common ragweed allergy become the worst?

Common ragweed allergy can cause itchy eyes, runny nose, etc. The symptoms become worse during cool nights and warm and dry days. Between March and April, the number of pollen increases in the air. This can also aggravate the condition.

How to get rid of common ragweed allergy?

A common ragweed allergen test is the best way to determine if you suffer from a common ragweed allergy. Your doctor can then prescribe medications to cure and subdue the symptoms. The best way to beat the allergy is to check your pollen counts daily and avoid staying out for too long during the high-pollen seasons. Also, you must change your clothes and take a shower after coming from outside. Keep the windows closed when driving or at home as much as possible.

How does ragweed smell?

Ragweed has a pungent smell that can be unpleasant to many. The plant grows in soils with high clay, sand, and gravel content. It is an aggressive plan that can grow in the most sterile and unhealthiest soils and live for many years.

Can you develop a sinus infection from ragweed allergy?

Yes, a Common ragweed allergy can make you experience symptoms like lung infections, sinusitis, and nasal polyps.

Which months can be considered allergy season?

The month of Spring is usually when the pollen count in the air is the highest. The duration from March to May and September to October can be considered pollen or allergy seasons.

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The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results