Why Ragweed Season Can Worsen Your Pet Allergies

If you suffer from pet allergies, you understand the far-reaching effects of being around these furry animals. But now researchers have found that people who experience an immune system response to common household animals can also be more susceptible to suffer from a severe reaction to ragweed in the fall when the pollen is out in full force.

The relationship between pet allergies and ragweed was recently discovered by Canadian scientists who were exploring why ragweed allergies seem to affect different people with differing severities of symptoms.

Their study, which was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in August 2011, reveals that many of the people who have severe responses to ragweed also seem to have allergies to cats and dogs. They also found a similar relationship between dust mites and ragweed allergies. They believe that the overlaps stem from the fact that pet and dust allergies prime the immune system to react to ragweed.

The researchers also point out that if pet allergies or dust mites make ragweed symptoms worse, you can head off some the seasonal reactions that come in the fall if you can properly treat dust and pet allergies all year round. Since global warming has led to longer allergy seasons and higher ragweed pollen counts in most regions, these findings are of particular importance to help people take control of their misery once and for all.

Fight Back Against Pet Allergies

To ward off pet allergies, take your allergy medications as directed by your doctor, and perhaps explore the possibility of undergoing allergy shots to desensitize you to your triggers and head off a ragweed response.

Also, on a regular basis take some steps to minimize your exposure to pet dander, dust mites, and ragweed. For instance, banish your dog or cat from your bedroom and other common areas, and bathe her often to remove allergens trapped in her hair. Clean your home thoroughly to get rid of allergens and use a mattress cover and other allergy proofing products to keep dust mites from interrupting your sleep.

Mow Down Seasonal Triggers

To combat seasonal symptoms, keep in mind that early mornings and humid, windy days can be particularly challenging for ragweed sufferers, so plan your outdoor activities accordingly. Also, get into the habit of checking the mold and pollen count in your area so you'll know what you're dealing with. Most newspapers and regional television and radio news programs provide this information on a daily basis. You can also visit the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology's website to access the National Allergy Bureau's reporting of allergen levels in your area.




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