Allergy sufferers know how rough spring can be. Nature returns to life and beauty again in full bloom after the cold of winter and pollen showers everything in its yellow haze. But this isn’t the only season that sends sneezing into overdrive. Often a favorite season of many people, Fall can pack quite a punch on allergy-prone individuals, sometimes more than spring! Why is fall such a brutal allergy season? Research estimates that over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergic rhinitis (hay fever). It’s quite a surprising investigation to learn the allergy triggers that can affect people in the fall. Let’s take a look at what makes fall so difficult on seasonal allergies and find some ways that you can still be outdoors to enjoy the color of the changing leaves, cool fall breezes, and everything pumpkin, apple, and all the harvest time fun!
What Can Be Triggering Your Fall Allergies?
Cooler temperatures are a key to spending more time outdoors since the heat of summer has finally passed. What’s the one thing holding some people back from enjoying a fall stroll through the leaves? Pesky fall allergies! If you find yourself sneezing your way through autumn, you are not alone, and here’s what is likely causing your allergy symptoms:
- Ragweed – One of the single most important causes of fall allergies, ragweed is a flowering, yellow weed that typically blooms in August and can cause symptoms for allergy sufferers into the fall, until at least the first frost. Other weeds often prevalent in the fall are: sagebrush, goldenrod, tumbleweed, pigweed, burning brush, mugwort, cocklebur, and lamb’s-quarters
- Mold and mildew – These two grow year-round but seem to thrive the most on damp leaves, piles of compost, bathrooms, basements, and kitchens in the fall. Spread by indoor air and wind, mold and mildew don’t die with the frost but do seem to cease thriving and producing during the cold winter months
- Grass, trees
- Dust mites – Not just fall, but a year-round problem, dust mites thrive in early fall weather where the temperatures can stay in the ’60s and ’70s, and turning on your heat for the first time as the weather cools down can send dust mites all through the air in your home
- Pet Dander and fur – Pets are known for shedding lots of fur and dander (dead skin) everywhere they go, and the result can fill your home with these two things that can send allergy sufferers into a tailspin
Fall ragweed and pollen season is a real thing, and ragweed, along with the other allergy triggers we discussed, can bring about all kinds of unwanted allergy symptoms:
- Runny nose, nasal congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itchy throat
- Rash, hives, breakout on the skin
- Asthma symptoms become aggravated, wheezing or coughing
- Trouble breathing
- Dark circles under the eyes
As much fun as fall is, it’s no party for those who suffer from these symptoms!
Ways To Treat Your Allergy Symptoms
We’ve listed all the bad news, now let’s focus on the good news! There are some great treatments for fall allergies and some good ways to help prevent and reduce your allergic reactions to fall’s allergens:
- Antihistamine medications or mast cell stabilizers
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays or decongestant nasal sprays
- Saline nasal rinses, neti pot
- Eye drops for itchy, red eyes
- Allergy shots for those with extreme allergies
- Remember that pollen and mold spores will stick to anything: clothes, hair, skin, shoes
- Wear a face mask when raking the leaves and doing outside work
- Keep your leaves raked frequently, don’t keep leaf piles near your home
- Wash your clothes after wearing them outdoors and frequently wash your jackets, linens, bed linens and curtains
- Clean your kitchen and bathrooms regularly with anti-mold and mildew cleaners
- Use a dehumidifier for your house, especially for a basement
- Wipe down your shoes or leave them outside
- Take a shower/wash your hair after being outdoors
- Vacuum and dust your home often
- Clean your air vents out during the end of summer to prevent a spread of dust mites from being blasted through your home when it’s time to turn on the heat
- Wipe down or brush your pets after walking them and their time outside
- Keep pets in certain areas of your home, don’t allow them on the furniture, and don’t keep their litter box or pet beds near any air vents
- Keep your house and car windows closed
- Stay informed of the pollen count in your area and avoid going outdoors during times of high pollen levels
Enjoy The Fall
If you are plagued with fall allergies, don’t be upset! There are many ways you can head off those allergy symptoms before they start. It may take a little work on your part, but it will be worth it to enjoy the color of the leaves, the cool temperatures and the many fun activities fall brings. Keep some allergy medicine in your bag, put your allergy fighting nose spray in your jacket pocket, put on a face mask and rake up those beautifully colored leaves and watch the beauty of the seasons change!
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