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The Ragweeds – They’re Baaaaack!!

Blurred photo of a fall scene with text "Your buddy ragweed and all of his friends are back"The pollens, molds and dust that proliferate in the fall here in North Texas and can lead to a variety of pesky allergy symptoms. If your nose is running and itchy; if your eyes are watery, itchy, and have dark circles under them; if you’re coughing and sneezing; you may be reacting to one of these common allergens. Though most people associate allergies with the springtime, a high percentage of people who have problems with spring plants also have problems with fall plants—especially ragweed.

Ragweed season, which is at its peak right now, starts in August and can last into October. It doesn’t matter if you live in an area where ragweed grows or not. Its pollen can travel on the wind for hundreds of miles. If you are allergic to some fruits, vegetables, and herbs including bananas, melon, zucchini, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, and chamomile tea, you are also likely to be allergic to ragweed.

Molds are another fall allergy trigger because they don’t just grow in damp basements or bathrooms. Molds thrive in damp areas outside as well. Those piles of wet leaves that can accumulate under trees are a perfect breeding ground for molds.

And watch out the first time you turn on your heat in the fall. Dust mites are another source of allergies, and their accumulation in heat vents can be stirred up when hot air blows through them.

Ragweed, dust mites and molds aren’t just a concern in your own home and yard. They are often found in and around schools where they can cause lots of problems for your children.

So, what should you do if you or your family members exhibit symptoms of allergies? First, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. Colds and flu are also common in the fall when kids head back to school and are exposed to lots of new germs. At Hillcrest Medical, we can give you an accurate diagnosis so you can receive the best treatment for your individual needs.

If it is determined that you have fall allergies, try to eliminate as much dust and mold in your environment as possible and limit your time outside when ragweed counts are high. Wash your hands to remove pollen from them after spending time outside, and change your clothes to keep from bringing pollen into your house. Dry clothes in a clothes dryer rather than on a clothes line. Clean and change air filters often.  Watch what you eat to make sure you aren’t exacerbating your symptoms by consuming things with similar proteins to ragweed, and be sure your diet includes foods that are known to be good for your immune system. In addition, drink plenty of water because dehydration has been found to make allergy symptoms worse.

There are over-the-counter medications that can help with allergy symptoms, but you should talk to your doctor first to make sure you are getting what is best for you. For instance, if you have high blood pressure, there are some allergy drugs you should not take. In addition, you may need a prescription to get you through this difficult time of year.

Come to Hillcrest Medical ASAP so we can help you feel better fast. We want you to enjoy fall—and our magnificent weather—here in North Texas, not suffer through it.

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