How to Prevent Weed Allergy?

Weed AllergyWeed Allergy

is caused from the pollen given out by the weeds. It is essentially a plant originated allergy. These plants are best described as unwanted little outgrowths by the sides of the beautiful patch of green in your garden. However, they are very potent in their pollen content and can wreck a havoc in the pollen season for allergy sufferers. In a country like the USA, where more than 50% of the population (54.6%) have tested positive for one or more allergens, the discussed type of allergy poses a serious threat.
Ragweed is the bad boy of the weed family as far as allergies are concerned. It can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains and can travel distances greater than 400 miles. This day, no area in the United States is free of the ragweed pollen and moving cannot offer any major relief. The effects of this particular pollen are so widespread that traces of the ragweed pollen have also been found in certain fruits and vegetables like banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, honeydew, watermelon, artichoke, dandelions, artichokes etc.

How is Weed Allergy Caused?

Pollen is generally manifested as a powdery material of yellow green color. It is seen to stick to open surfaces outside in the pollen season. When they are inhaled and enter our airways, the body is thrown into an autoimmune mode. The body perceives the protein in the pollen as a threat and produces antibodies known as IgE. These antibodies react and bind with the protein causing the body to secrete histamine from the mast cells of the gut, skin and pharynx. Histamine causes the unpleasant allergic effects on the body. It causes the the blood vessels to dilate causing inflammation. It causes irritation in nerve endings causing several skin rashes and eruptions. It can even set in a gastrointestinal distress.

What are some of such allergy causing plants?

  • Ragweed
  • Dockweed
  • Aster
  • Dandelion
  • Mugwort
  • Nettle
  • Pigweed
  • Clover
  • Rabbit Brush
  • Sage Brush
  • California Poppy
  • Smotherweed
  • Plantain
  • Cattail

Symptoms of the hypersensitivity

  • Angioedema or swelling of eyelids, face and mouth
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Skin rashes with itchy red welts appearing in clusters as in hives or urticaria
  • Itchy feeling in the throat, ear canal and pharynx
  • Digestive distress
  • Anaphylaxis may occur in extreme situations. The inflammation of airways may cause obstructions and cause shortness of breath, wheezing, lack of consciousness etc

Treatment of the Hypersensitivity

  • The first treatment would be to avoid the pollen as much as possible.
  • Antihistamines like Claritin, Allegra, Benadryl may treat symptoms very efficiently.
  • Decongestants or a combination of antihistamines and decongestants may work even better. However, decongestants are not adviced for long term use.
  • Skin rashes are generally treated with atopical ointments.
  • In case of anaphylaxis, an emergency shot of epinephrine needs to be administered.

Prevention of Weed Allergy

  • Watching out for the pollen count. Stay indoors during the time pollen count is high.
  • Using a pollen mask and glasses when outside is a must.
  • Using HEPA enabled air filters can keep away pollen to a certain extent.
  • Investing in a good HEPA enabled vacuum cleaner to clean carpets with is definitely a good idea. Practise taking off shoes outside the main door. Steam cleaning the carpet from time to time is also a good option.
  • Pollen may stick to clothes, shoes and hair when you do your errands outside. Change clothes and wash hair when you are back in the house.
  • Keep outdoor furniture and vehicles covered in the pollen season.

In the United States, authorities have taken up on them to eradicate the ragweed pollen. It has become a nuisance. Chemically spraying trees with aggressive herbicides is often done. Uprooting trees doesnt help much because the exposure can worsen the allergy symptoms. Moving doesnt help much because in a dry arid weather the pollen can travel a long distance. Because of the associated pollution, the practise of cutting down stalks and burning them also have been discontinued.

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