Facts, Prevention, and Relief for Tumbleweed Allergies

Updated
Updated

When you think of iconography of the Old West or Western movies, chances are that tumbleweeds might cross your mind. Despite their associations, these weeds are actually known as Russian thistle, and they can make allergy sufferers pretty miserable.

If you have tumbleweed allergies, you may be looking for a way to manage or treat your symptoms. Wyndly is here to help. Our personalized allergy treatment plans can help you find relief from your Russian thistle allergies. Schedule your allergy consultation today, or read on to learn more about tumbleweed allergies.

Common Symptoms

Tumbleweed allergies cause many of the same symptoms as other outdoor seasonal allergies.

If you have a tumbleweed allergy, you might experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Scratchy throat
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Allergic rash
  • Aggravated symptoms if you have asthma

You may find that your tumbleweed allergy symptoms get worse as the allergy season peaks. You should be especially wary on days that have a high pollen count.

Where Is Tumbleweed (Russian Thistle) Found?

Tumbleweed, or Russian thistle, is most commonly found in the western and southwestern United States. It prefers to grow in dry areas and is commonly seen in agricultural areas and along roadsides. These weeds are considered a pest.

The pollen from Russian thistle can easily travel on the wind, making it a difficult allergen to avoid if you live in the western part of the United States.

U.S. Allergen Zone Map

When Is Tumbleweed Pollen Allergy Season?

Your image of tumbleweeds may call to mind a rolling lump of sticks, and this is actually when they spread their seeds. They release their pollen when they’re still attached to the ground. Typically, this season will begin in late summer and go into early fall, with August and September being the worst months. Watch for high pollen counts during the tumbleweed allergy season and limit your exposure.

Foods to Avoid

Oral allergy syndrome, or OAS, sometimes occurs if you have seasonal allergies. Oral allergy syndrome happens when your immune system confuses the proteins in certain foods with the proteins found in pollen. While Russian thistle pollen only has a couple of cross-reactive foods — olives and kiwi fruit — it can also be cross-reactive with birch pollen, which has a much longer list of related foods.

Here are some to watch out for:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Fennel
  • Figs
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Soy
  • Strawberries

Oral allergy syndrome symptoms will usually cause your mouth to itch or tingle. This feeling typically subsides quickly on its own. If you have a more severe allergic reaction to any type of food, you should seek emergency medical attention.

Testing and Diagnosis

Tumbleweed pollen won’t be the only type of pollen in the air during allergy season, so identifying it as the source of your allergies can be pretty difficult. Fortunately, allergy testing can make it much simpler to find the substances that are causing your symptoms. Wyndly makes allergy testing convenient with our at-home allergy tests. They can be taken at home and are pain-free, unlike other allergy testing methods. Buy your at-home allergy test today.

Let’s examine 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, 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 pain by getting an at-home test.

Modern and Efficient At-Home Method

  1. Order Wyndly’s at-home allergy test. We ship our CLIA-certified test straight to your door.
  2. 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.
  3. Receive your personal allergy profile. Our doctor will interpret your results, create an allergy profile, and walk you through your 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

Identifying the cause of your allergies is the first step, but that won’t relieve your symptoms. There are various remedies that can manage your symptoms, and there are ways to treat them and get long-term relief. Let’s take a look at these remedies and treatment methods.

Limiting Exposure

It’s recommended to limit your exposure to any substances that cause your allergy symptoms. Avoiding tumbleweed pollen can be difficult, but there are measures you can take. There are several ways to reduce the level of tumbleweed pollen you’re exposed to.

  • Check the pollen count: When pollen levels are high, your allergies will be at their worst. You should stay indoors on these days if possible. At the very least, it’s recommended to wear a mask and sunglasses if you need to go outside.
  • Avoid peak hours: Tumbleweed pollen tends to peak in the morning and afternoon hours. If you want to go outside, the evening will be the best time to do it.
  • Watch for dry, windy days: Dry and windy days are perfect conditions for pollen to travel through the air. These are good days to stay inside.
  • Keep your home clean: Pollen can easily stick to you and get in your home or float in through open doors, vents, and windows. If you want to keep pollen levels in your home to a minimum, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, do laundry frequently, and dust hard surfaces with a wet rag.
  • Remove tumbleweeds in your yard: It’s a good idea to remove any tumbleweeds that you find in your yard.
  • Use a filter: Installing a HEPA air filter or using a dehumidifier can help keep pollen levels down in your home.
  • Keep your windows closed: Run your air conditioning during allergy season instead of leaving the windows open.
  • Avoid the aforementioned foods: Avoid consuming the foods we listed earlier.

Medications

When limiting exposure isn’t providing you with enough relief, you may want to consider allergy medications. There are several allergy medication options you can try for short-term relief.

  • Over-the-counter medications: OTC allergy meds are usually your first line of defense. They can help provide short-term relief from your allergy symptoms. They can be found online and in most grocery stores and pharmacies. They also come with non-drowsy options and options for children.
    • Antihistamines: Antihistamines work by blocking the histamine response in your body, providing temporary relief from allergy symptoms.
    • Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays are good for helping runny noses and congestion. They work by reducing the inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages.
    • Eye drops: If you have itchy or watery eyes, eye drops can be a solution by flushing out pollen.
  • Prescription: Finally, if none of the OTC allergy medications are working, you may want to consult your doctor about prescription options. But before doing that, you may want to consider treatment with immunotherapy.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

Sublingual immunotherapy is a way to treat your allergy symptoms instead of just managing them. It is a form of allergy immunotherapy that is administered with drops or tablets that are placed under the tongue. These are small doses of your allergen, which your immune system is retrained to tolerate or ignore through continued treatment. This form of allergy immunotherapy is just as safe and effective as allergy shots, and it doesn’t require needles or frequent visits to the doctor. Sublingual immunotherapy can also be taken from the comfort of your home.

Get Long-Term Relief With Wyndly

When you want to find true long-term relief from your allergies, choose Wyndly. You’ll get a personalized allergy treatment plan from our doctors, who will design it based on your allergies and allergy history. Wyndly can also deliver sublingual immunotherapy doses to your door if you’re a candidate for the treatment.

Schedule your allergy consultation today to get started with Wyndly.

Tumbleweed FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about tumbleweed allergies.

Can I move somewhere without tumbleweeds?

Though they are ubiquitous in the western United States, they can be found in other states as well. You should consider treatment before taking the drastic measure of moving.

Can I remove the tumbleweeds from my yard?

This may help reduce Russian thistle pollen in your immediate area, but keep in mind the pollen can travel on the wind for several miles.

Is Russian thistle the only tumbleweed?

While there are other species of weed that can form tumbleweeds, Russian thistle is the most common in the United States and the most likely culprit for your allergies.

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