We are officially in fall! There is a lot of love about fall: cooler weather, colorful leaves, apple and pumpkin picking, and much more. However, fall has its drawbacks too—namely, fall allergies. You may think that spring and summer are the worst seasons for allergies, but fall has its own set of allergens floating around. Here is the scoop on allergies in the fall and how you can manage your allergy symptoms.
What causes fall allergies?
Like spring and summer allergies, some fall allergies are caused by pollen in the air. The most common culprit in the fall is ragweed, which blooms and releases pollen from August to November. Ragweed pollen counts are highest in early to mid-September in many areas of the country. Because ragweed grows wild almost everywhere and the pollen can travel hundreds of miles through the air, you may experience ragweed allergies in most areas of the United States. The plant is especially common on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Approximately 75 percent of people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to ragweed.
Other plants that can cause autumn allergies include:
- Sagebrush and mugwort
- Burning bush
- Lamb’s quarters
- Tumbleweed and Russian thistle
In the fall, allergies can also be caused by mold. Mold grows best in damp places, both inside and outside of the home. Dust mites are another common trigger for fall allergies. They like to hide in moist or humid places, such as the furnace or air filter, as well as bedding, furniture, carpeting, and rugs.
What are the symptoms of fall allergies?
The symptoms of fall allergies are typically the same as other seasonal allergies. Common symptoms include sneezing, watery eyes, itchy nose and eyes, and runny nose.
How can I manage my allergies in the fall?
Here are a few simple, effective ways you can manage autumn allergies:
- Check pollen counts. Whenever possible, stay indoors on days with high pollen counts. Keep your windows and door shut during the morning and midday hours, when pollen counts peak. Pollen counts tend to surge on windy, warm days. Rain washes away pollen, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.
- Wash up after spending time outside. If you have been working or playing outdoors, change your clothes when you come inside. Wash your hair before going to bed so you don’t transfer pollen onto your bedding. Be sure to wipe your feet when coming indoors, too, so you don’t track mold and other allergens into your home.
- Change your air filter. Because dust mites like to hide in air filters, it’s a good idea to switch to a new air filter before turning on your furnace for the season.
- Keep the air clean. Vacuum often and run a HEPA air filter to reduce the allergens in your home.
- Take allergy medications as directed by your allergist. Allergy medications like antihistamines can help reduce your allergy symptoms. It’s best to start taking your medication about two weeks before the season begins.
To learn more about how you can manage allergies in the fall, we invite you to contact our allergy specialist today at West River ENT & Allergy.