Most people think of springtime pollen, flowers and buzzing insects when they consider seasonal allergies. But allergies are a year-round phenomenon, with fall being especially taxing, That’s because fall allergy triggers are different, but they can cause just as many symptoms as in spring and summer. When the weather cools and leaves begin to change, allergy symptoms can still affect those who are sensitive to their environment.
Common fall allergens
- Flowers and fruits aren’t the only plants that release pollen. Ragweed is fall’s most aggressive allergy trigger. It starts to release pollen in August, and this pollination can continue into through October. Even if it doesn’t grow where you live, ragweed pollen can travel for hundreds of miles on the wind, and on certain fruits and vegetables, including bananas, melon, and zucchini. These can all bring about your allergy symptoms.
- Mold doesn’t only grow in your basement or bathroom, it can also be found outside, especially in damp spots. Piles of damp leaves are a breeding ground for mold spores. Windy days can lift the mold spores and irritate your allergies.
- Dust Mites. Dust mites are found in almost every home and can elicit sneezing, runny noses and congestion. During the cold months, they can be stirred into the air through the heater. Wet dusting, vacuuming and mopping can keep reduce them and keep your allergies at bay.
How to Protect Yourself from Fall Allergies
If you want to take precautions, try using a face mask when you are outside, especially before 10 a.m., if you are raking leaves, or if the wind is stirring. Showering frequently, especially before bed, will remove pollen from your skin and hair. While you might want some fresh air in your home, try to keep your windows closed and use the air conditioner to circulate air and prevent allergies. When doing laundry, avoid line drying clothes outside. Have decaying leaves removed from your yard and gutters. Wear a face mask if you’re raking or removing fall leaves. Wash your car often to rid it of pollen and allergens that can find their way through the ventilation system.
Discover Your Fall Allergies
Allergy symptoms aren’t just sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and congestion. They also include fatigue, poor concentration, and low productivity. If you experience any of these allergy symptoms, or htey worsen during the fall months, it could mean you have a seasonal allergy. The great news is your primary care physician can help you manage these allergies and symptoms with medical prescriptions and treatments. You can get tested at your doctor’s office or at an allergy testing center near you. When you know your allergies, you can manage them.
Life with allergies doesn’t have to leave you in a constant state of sniffles; it’s time to breathe easy. Proper diagnosis and treatment will put you in control of your allergies and your life. The experienced respiratory therapists at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine utilize a multidisciplinary approach – which may include methacholine challenge, peak flow, airway reactivity, and blood testing for allergens. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call 815-477-7350.