Asthma and Allergies

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions on asthma and allergies.

What is ragweed, and how does it affect people who are allergic to it?

Ragweed is one major cause of outdoor allergies in the U.S.

Ragweed refers to a variety of soft-stemmed weeds that grow in many parts of the country. They are tough, hardy, and able to thrive in many places – especially in the east and Midwest, according to the

Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America’s New England Chapter (AAFA).

Ragweed typically only lives for one season, but each plant can make up to a billion pollen grains, according to the AAFA. The ragweed flowers release the pollen after the middle of summer.

Warm, breezy days with low humidity are ideal for ragweed flowers to release pollen, which travels by air, according to the AAFA.

People can develop an allergy to ragweed pollen, which often is referred to as “hay fever.” According to the AAFA, hay fever symptoms include:

  • Asthma symptoms, such as chronic cough, difficulty breathing, and wheezing
  • Headache
  • Irritated eyes
  • Itching ears
  • Itching throat
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Sneezing

Though there is no cure for a ragweed allergy, you can ease the symptoms by avoiding these plants during ragweed season as much as possible. Allergy medication and shots also can help, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Learn more:

Source: Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; J. Douglas Aldstadt, MD, Family Physicians of Englewood; Joseph Allen, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Michael Chunn, MD, Michael A. Chunn, MD, Family Practice; Chandan Gupta, MD, Monroe Medical Center; Joseph Leithold, MD, Woodcroft Family Practice; Anne Reitz, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Grenetta Ritenour, CNP, Jamestown Family Medicine; Melinda Ruff, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Marcus Washington, MD, Premier Health Family Medicine; Mark Williams, MD, Beavercreek Family Medicine