If the mere mention of ragweed sends you into a sneezing and crying frenzy, you’re not alone. A super-villain of allergy plants, ragweed is one of the most allergenic species affecting one out of every ten Canadians. Itchy, red, watery eyes, congestion and sneezing are all too familiar symptoms experienced by ragweed allergy sufferers starting in August and ending in early fall!
Commonly mistaken for the showier but innocent Goldenrod, the ragweed plant is very unexceptional in appearance. Its attributes, however, are akin to superpowers. Its one of the hardiest plants thriving in gardens, flower borders, poorly kept lawns, edges of sidewalks, vacant lots and pretty much anywhere land is neglected.
Not only does ragweed seem to flourish anywhere, a single ragweed plant can release over one billion grains of pollen each season. It’s also very light, making it easy for the wind to carry it for great distances. Seemingly inescapable, this makes for a fierce struggle for ragweed allergy sufferers with the symptoms impacting day-to-day activities.
Get the tissue boxes ready for more bad news! Allergy seasons are getting longer and more severe due to Climate Change (Source: Ziska LH, Makra L, Harry, SK, et al. Lancet Planetary Health. 2019). Longer growing seasons under a warmer climate mean larger ragweed plants that produce more pollen and later into the fall.
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