For some people with allergies, the end of summer is a good thing. But for many others -- an estimated 36 million Americans -- the end of summer just means the beginning of ragweed season.
Symptoms of a ragweed allergy include sneezing, runny nose, and swollen, itchy, tearing eyes, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Nearly 80 percent of people who have such allergies will experience trouble sleeping.
With ragweed season running from the middle of August until October, here are some tips from the experts at the allergy academy on how to minimize exposure to the plant in question and its potent pollen:
1. Stay away: Avoid areas where ragweed likes to grow, such as ditches, vacant lots, riverbanks and the edge of wooded areas.
2. Stay inside: When pollen counts are high, try to minimize your outdoor activity. If you do spend time outdoors, shower when you head inside again so that the pollen doesn't collect on you.
3. Keep pollen out: Close the windows in your car and home to minimize the amount of pollen that enters the places you live. Run air conditioning to clean and dry the air that you're breathing.
4. Know the numbers:
Track pollen and other allergen counts regularly so you know when to take extra precautions. You can visit www.aaaai.org/nab for up-to-date information on tree, weed and grass pollen and mold counts. Because some people's symptoms represent a cumulative effect of multiple allergens, it's also worth watching how prevalent other allergens are.