The Reality of Ragweed

From late summer to early fall, weeds emerge, bloom and release their pollen into the air. Not only is ragweed one of the worst culprits but it’s getting stronger and growing longer across the U.S. Here’s the lowdown of this sneaky troublemaker.

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1. What it is

Ragweed is a member of the daisy family with tiny yellow-green flowers that produce vast amounts of pollen – about a million grains per plant, every single day.

2. Where it grows

Ragweed is found in fields, gardens, roadsides and waste areas all over the U.S. but is the biggest problem in the East and Midwest.

3. When it grows

Ragweed grows from August to November, peaking mid-September and ending with the first frost. However, if you get allergies from ragweed, you may have noticed that your symptoms are lasting longer every year.

4. How it moves

Ragweed pollen grains are so light they can travel up to 400 miles on the wind. This means that when it comes to ragweed spreading across the country, the sky's the limit.

5. What to do about it

Stay one step ahead of ragweed with the ZYRTEC® ALLERGYCAST® app. It allows you to find out what pollen is in the air with the daily pollen forecast, and monitor your allergy symptoms too. Standard data rates for your plan apply.

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Barbecuing 101

Having a fun barbecue can be as simple as buying some meat and inviting friends over – but serving tasty food and ensuring that your guests with allergies have a good time is another thing. Here are some tips to help you make your barbecues even better this summer.

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The ZYRTEC® ALLERGYCAST® app allows you to check the pollen and weather forecast so you won’t be surprised by allergies on the day of your barbecue.

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1. The Location

Mow your lawn a day or two before the barbecue so you don’t stir up pollen on the day; and wipe all your outdoor furniture down with a damp cloth before your guests arrive. Be sure to also thoroughly clean all surfaces that come into contact with food.

2. The Planning

See what you already have and make a checklist ahead of time so you don’t forget any necessities such as wood, charcoal, or gas for your grill, and other basics like napkins and ice. If your BBQ is outside, tell your friends who have allergies so they can plan ahead.

3. The Grill

Before you start, make sure your grill is clean. Burn off old grease with a new fire, scrape it with a wire brush and re-season it with fat or oil. No matter what medium you choose – wood, coal or gas – your barbecue needs to be hot before grilling.

4. The Preparation

Side dishes such as vegetables can be chopped, steamed, boiled and grilled early. This will give you more time to socialize with your guests and reduce the amount of smoke that they inhale – people with allergies are typically more sensitive to irritants.

5. The Meat

Meat should always be cooked last and never cooked cold. Give the meat time to reach room temperature before it hits the grill so you can transfer the heat from the outside into the middle without burning it to a crisp in the process. Once your meat is on the grill, only turn it when necessary. The more you poke, prod, flatten and flip, the less tasty the end result will be. Finally, when your meat is cooked, leave it to rest until the juices are reabsorbed.

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Allergens & Outdoor Exercise

Exercising is good for the body and soul, and nothing should stand between you and fitness, especially pollen. Let’s take a look at ways to reduce exposure to outdoor allergens when you exercise.

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Sneeze Free Fun for Kids

It’s impossible to prevent your kids from coming into contact with pollen but, if they suffer from allergies, there are ways to minimize the problem.
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Grass

The shorter the grass, the less pollen it will produce. Keeping your lawn neatly trimmed will help to reduce allergens.

Wind

Windy days are great for flying kites and, unfortunately, flying allergens. Encourage your kids to bring their games indoors on gusty days. Couch fort anyone?

Clothes

Pollen particles are so small you can’t even see them sticking to you so, as soon as your kids head inside after a play session, make sure they leave their shoes at the door and change their clothes. If their allergies are extreme you should give them a bath and wash their hair.

Toys

Kids are really creative when they play, so you shouldn’t stop them from taking their toys outside but you can ask them to leave them at the door, so that they don’t bring pollen in with them. It also helps to clean their toys regularly by wiping them down or, in the case of fluffy toys, putting them in the washing machine.

Pets

Kids and dogs love to romp around outside together. To reduce dander, and get allergens out of your pet’s coat, try to keep up a regular grooming and washing routine. Wiping your dog down after he’s been outside is also good practice.

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Allergy-free Outdoor Entertaining

There’s nothing better than entertaining outdoors - who doesn’t love a barbecue? Here’s how to make sure that allergies aren’t on the menu.

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1. Timing

Plan your party for the late afternoon or early evening, when pollen counts are lower.

2. Tidying

Keep the grass in your yard short and remove any brush and weeds from your property.

3. Mowing

Don’t mow your lawn the day of the party—it can stir up pollen.

4. Accessorizing

Encourage your guests to wear sunglasses if it’s windy. It will help to keep pollen out of their eyes. You can also keep a basket full of fun sunglasses on hand for guests to use throughout the summer season.

5. Planning

Make sure you have an indoor back up plan for allergy sufferers in case there is a high pollen count on the day of the party. You can get the daily pollen count with the ZYRTEC® AllergyCast® app.

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Road Tripping with Allergies

The warmer months are the best time to get out there and explore our country. And the best way to do this is a road trip. Here’s what to keep in mind if you don’t want to include tissues in your luggage.

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1. Timing

Aim to hit the road early in the morning before 10 AM when pollen counts are at their lowest. Late afternoon is the next best time to head out.

2. Transport

Before you set out, clean your car thoroughly, preferably with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Drive with the windows rolled up and keep the AC or fan on circulate to keep pollen out. If you spill any drinks, be sure to mop them up quickly to prevent mold from growing.

3. Destination

Choose your destination and type of vacation carefully. If you’re prone to allergies, hiking and camping are not a good idea. Beach holidays (in fact any holidays that involve swimming) are a wise choice since the pollen count is lower around large bodies of water.

4. Accommodation

More and more hotel chains are offering hypoallergenic rooms for people with allergies. Check out allergyfriendlyhotels.com to find out more about availability. If your destination doesn’t offer this option, request a room on the highest floor possible and take along your own allergenic pillow and bedding.

5. Passengers

If your pets travel with you, give them a bath before you leave and keep them in a crate in your car or invest in a washable pet seat cover. That way you’ll limit the amount of dander that is spread around your vehicle.

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Avoiding Outdoor Allergens

By the end of winter everyone’s itching to get outdoors – especially kids and dogs. Make sure your family’s open-air activities are fun and tissue free by keeping these factors in mind.

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1. The Time

The pollen count is at its highest between 10 AM and 5 PM. Try not to spend too much time outdoors during these hours.

2. The Weather

Weather conditions play a big role in the pollen count. Two simple tips to keep in mind –stay indoors when it’s windy and venture outside after a heavy rain shower.

3. Indoors

As soon as you get inside, take a shower, wash your hair and throw your clothes into a laundry basket.

4. Pets

Minimize your pooch or cat’s shedding by grooming him regularly, especially as the seasons change. You should also brush him off as soon as he comes inside so that he doesn’t bring pollen into your home.

5. Planning Ahead

The ZYRTEC® ALLERGYCAST® app allows you to check the pollen and weather forecast before you head outdoors. You can also log and track your allergy symptoms so that know what pollen affects you and when.

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Allergy-Proof Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a new year, a fresh start and the chance to get serious about making changes in your life. Here’s how to make sure allergies don’t get in the way of your resolutions.

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Escaping Allergens

When you spend a lot of time indoors, with your family, hiding from the cold, it’s easy to feel trapped. Here are some fun winter activities that will allow you to get out, escape indoor allergens and your relatives!

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Allergies and the Weather

The weather forecast can help you figure out what to wear that day but it can also bring you up to speed on what allergens are in the air. Take a look at how the atmospheric conditions can affect your allergies. Download the AllergyCast App to get the weather and pollen forecast every day.
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