Year-Round Allergies

Focus on ragweed: Main characteristics of this plant, related allergy symptoms and why it causes an allergic reaction
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Focus on ragweed: Main characteristics of this plant, related allergy symptoms and why it causes an allergic reaction

2013-10-28

By Dr. Mélanie Nguyen

Ragweed is a very common weed in North America. Although there are different varieties of ragweed, the two that affect us the most are common ragweed and giant ragweed. The plants have serrated leaves – similar to carrot leaves – and may grow over four meters in height. In late July and early August, the plant’s yellow-green flowers produce the pollen that’s responsible for hay fever reactions. In fact, during this period, people suffering from allergies will begin to experience symptoms such as sneezing, itchy nose, itchy throat, itchy eyes and ears, runny nose, nasal congestion, watery, red eyes, swollen eyelids and even allergic cough for some. Ragweed pollen is a lightweight and microscopic powder that moves through the air and is very difficult to avoid. 

Don’t confuse ragweed with poison ivy, which contains a virulent sap that causes a skin reaction similar to an eczema rash. Poison ivy also comes in different varieties, but the plants are never higher than one meter tall and the edges of the leaves are smooth.


The views expressed are solely those of the author based on his/her knowledge and expertise and do not necessarily represent the views of the manufacturer. If you think you are experiencing allergy symptoms, please consult your healthcare professional for a definitive diagnosis.

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