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Increasing allergies: spread of the highly allergenic ragweed plant


Dangerous plant: action program to slow the spread of ragweed

Health experts have been pointing to the massive spread of the ragweed plant for years. The pollen of the mugwort ambrosia, originally from North America, can cause health problems even for non-allergy sufferers. The plant is to be combated with an action program.

One of the strongest allergenic plants in the world

According to experts, ambrosia is one of the strongest allergenic plants in the world. Accordingly, about 80 percent of all allergy sufferers are allergic to mugwort ambrosia (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), also known as ragweed or ragwort. In addition, the herb can provoke hypersensitivity even in previously insensitive people without allergies. In Bavaria, the spread of the allergy plant is to be slowed down with a nationwide action program.

Mugwort ambrosia can release up to a billion pollen into the air

According to a statement by the Bavarian Ministry of Health, the mugwort ambrosia plant, originally native to the United States, has been spreading in Bavaria since the 1990s.

An ambrosia plant is said to produce between 3,000 and 60,000 seeds in its one-year life cycle. It can also release up to a billion pollen into the air.

The plant only blooms late in the year - depending on the weather between August and September.

Even small amounts of health complaints

"The pollen of mugwort ragweed is one of the strongest allergy triggers," said Bavaria's health minister Melanie Huml.

"Even small amounts can cause health problems, even for non-allergy sufferers," said the politician.

A leaflet by the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment explains which health problems can arise.

"Already ten pollen per cubic meter of air is enough to trigger symptoms such as tears, itchy eyes, sensitivity to light, headache, fatigue and hay fever in pollen allergy sufferers," write the experts.

And further: "An exceptionally high proportion of those affected also suffer from breathing difficulties up to asthma." In addition, the nose runs and skin redness can occur.

Stop the spread of the dangerous plant if possible

According to Huml, the goal now is to "stop the spread of the plant in Bavaria as far as possible."

424 larger ambrosia stocks are currently documented in the Free State. However, the number of unreported cases is likely to be significantly higher.

The Bavarian action program “Ambrosia Control”, which started in 2007, focuses on informing citizens and combating ambrosia on a voluntary basis.

“On a voluntary basis, the uncontrolled spread of the allergy plant has been slowed down. But as our accompanying monitoring shows, the numbers are still increasing, ”said the Minister of Health.

"Large ragweed stocks from around 100 plants should be reported to the district offices or district administration authorities," says Huml.

“If you discover individual plants, you can eliminate them yourself. It is important to pull out the plant only with gloves and to wear a face mask when the plants are already blooming. The plant remains should be disposed of with household waste in a plastic bag. ”(Ad)

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