Preparing For and Combating Fall Allergies
Fall is a wonderful time of year – the nights are cooler, there is less humidity and it gets darker earlier. However, the fall might not be such a great time of year for those who suffer from seasonal allergies.
If you suffer from a runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and sneezing during this time of year in the south, you may be allergic to these seasonal allergens:
- Weed Pollens. Weed pollens are very prominent in the fall, especially ragweed. Ragweed actually starts to release its pollen between 2 and 4 a.m. Try to do outdoor activities in the late afternoon and evening to avoid the worst of your symptoms.
- Mold. Mold is a perennial allergen, but some spores may increase seasonally. Mold spores are common airborne allergens. They are common in soil, compost piles and in the leaves that cover the ground during the fall.
- House dust mites. Dust mites are actually living creatures and are members of the spider family. Dust mites thrive with heat and humidity, but as they begin dying off each fall, the effect they have on indoor air quality may increase. They thrive in and on fabric, for example, mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets, rugs, drapes and curtains.
Now what happens if the fall is here and you haven’t taken preemptive measures to avoid being stuck with those pesky allergy symptoms? Luckily you have a number of choices:
- For milder symptoms, use over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Luckily for allergy-prone individuals, many of the OTC remedies are effective, but results vary by person, so you just have to find the one that works best for you. (i.e., Claritin, Xyzal, Allegra, Zyrtec). If you’re having trouble with itchy eyes, try using a cold compress or keep a bottle of artificial tears in the refrigerator. Heat tends to make symptoms worse, while cold gives relief.
- If that isn’t enough, consider adding in an OTC corticosteroid nose spray. Cortisone decreases inflammation in your nose caused by allergen exposure and provides symptom relief for you! (Flonase, Nasacort)
- If worst comes to worst and you don’t experience any relief, consider talking to your doctor about other options like allergen immunotherapy. While this isn’t the right choice for everyone, it is an alternative for those who experience more severe symptoms due to allergies on a persistent basis and, as a result, a diminished quality of life.
It is time to take back control of your fall season by understanding your allergens, preparing for the season and combating symptoms as needed. Find the best methods for you so you can get out and enjoy this nice weather while it lasts!