Fall Allergies: Fact or Fiction?
Most people think of springtime when it comes to seasonal allergies. That's when pollen, the number one contributor to allergies, is in full effect. But springtime isn't the only season when allergies can strike. Read on to learn more about fall allergies.
Fall Allergy Symptoms
The first step in fighting fall allergies is knowing that you are being affected by allergies, and not something like a common cold. Symptoms of fall allergies include the following:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy throat, ears, and/or eyes
- Coughing or difficulty breathing
Allergies can also become severe and include reactions such as chest tightness, wheezing, and other breathing difficulties. Seek medical attention if you experience any of these acute symptoms.
Causes and Solutions to Common Fall Allergens
One of the more common fall allergens is ragweed. Ragweed is a yellow flowering weed that typically blooms in early fall, normally around August. However, ragweed can cause allergic reactions all throughout the fall season. To avoid ragweed pollen, keep an eye on your local newspaper's pollen count and limit your exposure to the outdoors when the pollen count is high. If ragweed is present on your lawn, try to kill it before it can flower and release its seed. To kill ragweed, you can use a broadleaf weed killer spray.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew thrive in dark, damp, warm spaces where ventilation is minimal. During the fall, mold and mildew will thrive on wet leaves that have fallen onto the ground and piled up. Indoors, mold and mildew can be a problem year-round. Keep an eye out for black spots, especially in wet areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and ceilings. Usually it is a sign of water getting where it's not supposed to, such as a roof leaking onto a ceiling or a water pipe leaking onto drywall. It could also mean that building materials being used in your home aren't intended for the wet location that they're installed.
Dust Mites, Pet Dander, and Insect Droppings
The key to stopping allergens from these sources is two-fold. One, keep your home clean. That includes vacuuming, dusting, and regularly washing your clothes, bed sheets, and upholstery. Two, eliminate the source if possible. That includes regularly brushing or grooming pets outdoors, sealing up your home to prevent insects from getting in, or worst-case scenario, calling a pest control company if you believe you have some type of insect problem.
Treating your Symptoms with Medication or Allergy Shots
For most people, over the counter (or prescription) allergy medications work great for reducing or eliminating symptoms. Typical allergy medications usually contain antihistamine or acetaminophen.
Another option for trying to get out in front of your allergies is to have your doctor prescribe an allergy shot. Allergy shots are an immunotherapy option because they work to strengthen your immune system. Allergy shots work by exposing your body to small amounts of allergens so that you develop natural immunities to allergens.