West River ENT & Allergy

Are your allergies worse in the fall? This may be why.

If you made it through spring allergy season, you might think you’re in the clear until next spring. But think again—because fall is another prime time of year for allergies! Today, we’ll discuss why your allergies might be worse in the fall.

What are the most common fall allergy triggers?
The top two most common fall allergy triggers are pollen and mold. Ragweed in particular is one of the biggest fall allergy triggers. Even if you don’t live in an area where ragweed grows, you could still fall victim to its pollen. That’s because ragweed pollen can travel for hundreds of miles on a windy day. With each ragweed plant producing up to 1 billion seeds of pollen, there’s a good chance you’ll be exposed to ragweed. Approximately 75 percent of people who suffer allergic symptoms to pollen from spring trees and grasses are also allergic to ragweed.

Other plants can also contribute to pollen allergies in the fall, including:

  • Cocklebur
  • English plantain
  • Firebrush
  • Goldenrod
  • Lamb’s quarter
  • Marsh elder
  • Mugwort
  • Pigweed
  • Russian thistle
  • Sagebrush
  • Sorrel
  • Yellow dock

The second big contributor to autumn allergies is mold. In many areas, fall comes with cooler temperatures and more rain. These contribute to the growth of mold, especially in fall foliage that is beginning to decay. Molds can aggravate asthma, leading to wheezing, heavy breathing, and other respiratory symptoms.

Another cause of fall allergies is dust mites. If the weather takes a cooler turn and you turn on your heater for the first time in months, you could be sending dust mites blowing around inside your home. Dust mite allergies can trigger symptoms like a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. To avoid this, be sure to change your filter before turning on the heater for the first time this season.

Common Fall Allergy Symptoms
The most common fall allergy symptoms are similar to those you experience with spring allergies. These symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Sneezing

Do I have fall allergies or a cold?

At this time of year, the common cold is starting to make its seasonal rounds. So, how can you tell whether you’re suffering from allergies or a cold? Here are a few things to look for:

  • A fever, sore throat, and body aches are all common symptoms of a cold. However, these are NOT common allergy symptoms.
  • Itchy, watery eyes, sinus pressure, and sneezing are more likely to be symptoms of allergies rather than a cold.
  • Allergies and colds can both cause a runny nose, postnasal drip, coughing, and nasal congestion.
  • If your symptoms last less than 10 days, it is likely a cold. If they continue longer than 10 days, you are probably dealing with fall allergies.

Treatment for Fall Allergies
The top tip is to avoid your fall allergy triggers. Here are a few simple and effective ways you can do that:

  • Change your air filter before turning on your heater.
  • Wipe down your pets before bringing them in from outside since they can collect pollen and mold on their paws and fur coat.
  • Wear glasses and a mask or bandana while outside. This can be especially helpful during activities like raking leaves or pulling weeds.
  • Try to avoid going outside while pollen counts are high. Pollen typically peaks during the late morning to midday.
  • Use a dehumidifier to lower the humidity in your home and prevent mold growth.
  • Use a HEPA filter, which is designed to remove pollen, dust, mold, and other allergens from the air.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants while outside. This can help to protect your skin from allergens.
  • Change your clothes after coming in from outside. This prevents the allergens from spreading throughout your home.

An antihistamine can help to control your autumn allergy symptoms. If you aren’t finding relief from an antihistamine or would like a more long-term solution, you may want to talk to your allergy doctor about allergy shots or drops.

To learn more about fall allergies, we invite you to contact us today at West River ENT & Allergy. We look forward to helping you.

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