How does ragweed cause allergic contact dermatitis?

Updated: Nov 19, 2018
  • Author: Glen H Crawford, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Ragweeds cause hay fever and asthma only during the airborne pollen season. However, airborne contact dermatitis can occur throughout the full growing season of these plants.

Two allergens are found in ragweed pollen: (1) oleoresin is thought to cause airborne contact dermatitis, and (2) distinct aqueous proteins cause ragweed asthma and hay fever.

The dermatitis caused by ragweed typically occurs in atopic, American, middle-aged, male farmers; the estimated male-to-female ratio is 20:1.


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