Cockleburs are large weeds that can grow anywhere from two to four feet tall. They’re very hardy and can grow nearly anywhere. You may be familiar with them, as their burs (the fruit they produce) are very sticky and can hook onto pet fur or clothing. Though the plant is wind pollinated, it can also spread using its burs.
Schedule an allergy consultation with Wyndly to get your personalized allergy treatment plan, and read on to learn more about cocklebur allergies.
If you have cocklebur allergies, you may experience several symptoms, including:
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Allergic rash
- Aggravated symptoms for people who have asthma
You may notice your allergy symptoms become more severe when allergy season is peaking or when the pollen count is high in your area.
Where Is Cocklebur Found?
Cocklebur is found throughout the United States and can grow nearly anywhere. It’s most commonly found in fields, croplands, waste areas, vacant plots of land, floodplains, and nearly anywhere else it’s allowed to grow. Since it’s a weed, it is often removed from lawns and other residential areas.
When Is Cocklebur Pollen Allergy Season?
Cocklebur allergy season typically starts in the middle of summer and will end at the beginning of fall. You can expect the season to start around mid-July, peak in August and early September, and taper off before October.
Foods to Avoid
If you have allergies to cocklebur, there is a chance that you also have allergies to several different types of food. This reaction is called OAS or oral allergy syndrome, and it happens when your immune system mistakes the proteins in certain foods with similar proteins in cocklebur pollen. Though there aren’t any foods specific to cocklebur pollen, cocklebur is closely related to ragweed and can be cross-reactive with its pollen.
Here are some of the foods to watch out for:
- Chamomile tea
- Raw honey
- Sunflower seeds
If you experience a tingly or itchy feeling in your mouth or throat after consuming these foods, you likely have OAS. These symptoms should subside on their own fairly quickly, but if you have a more severe reaction, you should seek emergency medical attention right away.
Testing and Diagnosis
It’s not easy to find out if you’re allergic to cocklebur pollen specifically. Since cocklebur is producing pollen at the same time of year as many other plants, it can be difficult to determine which pollen is causing symptoms. Instead of guessing, you can take an allergy test to find out for sure. Wyndly makes it so you can take your allergy test at home. Buy your at-home allergy test from Wyndly today!
Let’s look at how different allergy testing options work.
Old-Fashioned Method: Skin Prick Test at Your Doctor’s Office
Skin prick testing requires you to go to the doctor to find out your allergen triggers. It’s often uncomfortable, and it takes time out of your day. You’ll go to the doctor’s office, and they’ll administer a test where they prick or scrape your skin with a needle tipped with different allergens, and then they’ll observe the areas they pricked for itchiness, redness, or swelling. All in all, it’s not a pleasant experience. Instead, you can save yourself time and discomfort by getting an at-home test.
Modern and Efficient At-Home Method
- Order Wyndly’s at-home allergy test. We ship our CLIA-certified test straight to your door.
- Take the allergy test and send it back to us. Just do a quick finger prick test to provide us with a blood sample and mail it back when you’re done.
- Receive your personal allergy profile. Our doctor will interpret your results, create an allergy profile, and walk you through a personalized treatment plan.
Unlike self-diagnosis, an allergy test can reveal the full breadth of your allergies. This way you know exactly what you’re allergic to and how you can treat your symptoms.
Treatment and Remedies
If you do have cocklebur allergies, you don’t have to simply deal with the symptoms until allergy season is over. There are plenty of ways to manage and even treat your allergy symptoms. Here are some of the remedies and treatment options you may want to consider.
Once allergy season rolls around, it’s a good idea to take some extra precautions to limit your exposure to your allergens. Since airborne pollen is hard to avoid altogether, you can take these measures to keep exposure to a minimum.
- Look at the pollen count: Pollen levels can vary on a daily basis. Checking the pollen count for the day is recommended and can be done with a weather website or app. If the pollen count is high, you may want to stay indoors or wear a mask when you go outside.
- Go outside in the evening: Usually, pollen peaks in the morning and afternoon. So if you’re trying to get some outdoor time, it’s better to stick to the evening hours.
- Clean your home often: Keeping your house clear of pollen can help reduce your overall exposure. Try vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum and dusting with a wet rag at least once a week during allergy season.
- Do laundry: Do laundry more frequently during allergy season to get pollen off your clothes.
- Rinse off in the shower: If you’ve been outside, rinsing off in the shower can get pollen off your hair and skin. Washing your face and hands is a quick substitute if you’re not home or if you don’t have time for a shower.
- Pull weeds: If you have cocklebur in your yard, be sure to remove it. Mulching with rocks or gravel can help prevent more from growing.
- Keep windows closed: Ensure pollen isn’t getting in easily through your open windows. Close the windows during allergy season and use your A/C instead.
- Remove shoes: If you come inside with your shoes on, you can track in pollen. Make sure to take off your shoes when you get home.
If you have mild allergies, limiting your exposure might be enough to provide symptom relief, but most allergy sufferers will need some additional help. Allergy medications can be helpful for short-term allergy relief.
Here are some of the options you might try:
Over-the-counter: Over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications are the most common and widely available option, with several different types to manage a variety of allergy symptoms.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines temporarily block histamine production, which provides relief from most allergy symptoms.
- Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays are good for runny or stuffy nose symptoms, reducing inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages.
- Eye drops: Those with itchy, red, and watery eyes may want to try allergy eye drops to relieve symptoms.
- Prescription: Sometimes OTC allergy medications may not be enough. If you’re not finding any relief with OTC medications, you may want to consult your doctor about using prescription medications.
While limiting your exposure and taking allergy meds can provide short-term relief, these methods are not treatments for your allergies. If you want to treat your allergies and find long-term relief, sublingual immunotherapy is a safe and effective option. Sublingual immunotherapy introduces small, gradually increasing doses of an allergen to your immune system using drops or tablets. This retrains your immune system to ignore these triggers or tolerate them, relieving you of your allergy symptoms. Unlike allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy doesn’t require needles or a trip to the doctor for every dose.
Get Long-Term Relief With Wyndly
When you’re ready to find long-term relief from your seasonal allergies, Wyndly is ready to help. Our doctors can create a personalized allergy treatment plan for your cocklebur allergies.
Schedule your allergy consultation with Wyndly today to get started!
We have answers to some frequently asked questions about cocklebur allergies.
Will removing the cocklebur from my yard help with allergies?
It’s not too common to find cocklebur in yards unless you have a lot of land where some areas aren’t maintained. The large weed is usually removed from residential areas, and if you do happen to have some on your lawn or land, it’s a good idea to remove the plants.
Is cocklebur the most common weed allergy?
The most common weed allergy is ragweed; however, cocklebur is closely related to ragweed, so you may have some cross-reactivity and be allergic to ragweed as well. An allergy test can help you find out for sure.
Will a mask help with my weed allergies?
Wearing an N95 mask on days with a high pollen count can help to reduce your exposure. This can prevent the pollen from getting into your mouth and nose and causing your symptoms.