Fall is Here and So are the Allergies
Fall is in the air! The kids are back to school, football season in underway, and the last of the summer flowers have faded. With all of the fun activities autumn brings, fall allergies are unfortunately a part of the package.
What are the Most Prevalent Fall Allergy Triggers?
Most people associate seasonal allergies with the spring and summer, but autumn brings its own set of allergy triggers that affect more than 36 million Americans. People begin to suffer from symptoms in late August when ragweed pollen is released during the hot days and cooler nights. Ragweed is by the far the biggest trigger for fall allergies and can continue to cause symptoms well into September and October.
Even if ragweed doesn’t grow where you live, one ragweed plant can release over a billion grains of pollen into the air. These grains are so light that the wind can blow them over 400 miles away to your front door. If you’re allergic to ragweed, certain fruits and vegetables may also affect you, including bananas, zucchini and melons. Other plants that trigger fall allergies include sagebrush, pigweed, goldenrod and sheep sorrel.
Mold is another leading fall allergy trigger. You probably think of mold lurking in damp basements or bathrooms, but mold loves to hide in damp areas outside like piles of fallen leaves.
Although present year around, dust mites are another allergy culprit to take note of in the fall. Dust mites thrive in the hot and humid summer months but are released into the air when air-dries out from central heating. Children are at higher risk for suffering from fall allergy symptoms since mold and dust mites are prevalent in schools.
What Are the Symptoms of Fall Allergies?
Allergy symptoms are varied, but can include:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose and eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
What are the Treatment Options for Fall Allergies?
Many effective treatment options exist to reduce fall allergy symptoms. These include:
- Steroid nasal sprays, which reduce inflammation in the nose.
- Antihistamines, which reduce sneezing, itching and sniffling.
- Decongestants, which lessen congestion and help eliminate mucous in the nose.
- Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots.
How Can I Effectively Protect Myself from Fall Allergies?
There are many safe and effective ways to help protect yourself from exposure to allergy triggers.
Pollen counts are highest on windy days and in the late morning. Try to stay indoors during these times. In addition, keep your windows closed on days when pollen counts are high. Use air conditioning instead. When starting your car, open the windows for a few minutes after turning on the air conditioning to keep from breathing in concentrated dust spores.
When working outside, use a facemask to shield yourself from allergens kicked up by raking and mowing. Remove decaying leaves from your yard, which tend to accumulate mold. Avoid working in the yard on windy days or in the early morning when allergens are at their highest concentrations.
When you do spend time outdoors, make sure you take a shower afterwards to wash pollen off your skin and hair. Additionally, wash your work clothes often since pollen will accumulate on them. Dry your clothes in a dryer instead of hanging them on the line to further reduce exposure to pollen.
Change air filters frequently and clean heating vents before turning on your central heating for the first time to remove built-up pollen and mold.
Where Can I Find the Best Allergy Treatments in Texas?
If you are suffering from fall allergies, make an appointment today with Lakeside Allergy ENT. Our highly trained staff specializes in allergy testing and treatment and will take the time to explain what fall allergies are and how they affect you.
If you’d like to find out more about allergy testing, call our office at 972-771-5443 to make an appointment or go online to request an appointment by filling out the form on this page. Click here for our Allergy Shot Schedule.