When we think of allergies, most of us think of the itchy eyes and sneezes that come with the appearance of pollen in the early spring. The fall season is a heavy allergy season as well, with about 75% of spring allergy sufferers finding they are experiencing symptoms again! Here are the top three Fall allergy triggers and how you can get help identifying, diagnosing and treating them.
The Top 3 Fall Allergy Triggers
Ragweed is common in August, September and October and can travel hundreds of miles on the wind to irritate your nasal passages. Interestingly, many people who react to ragweed may also be sensitive to bananas, melon and zucchini!
Mold doesn’t just grow inside – mold spores love to grow outdoors in damp or wet areas as well.
- Dust Mites
When you turn on your heat in the fall, it can stir up dust particles and dust mites. Using a filter on your heating system and a HEPA filter in your home can help.
Common Fall Allergy Symptoms
The most common symptoms of Fall allergies are:
- Runny Nose
- Itchy and Watery Eyes
- Itchy Nose
- Dark Undereye Circles
How to Diagnose Fall Allergies
So now that you know what to look for, how do you know what’s causing it? Here’s where your doctor will help you determine the cause by reviewing your history and likely recommending a skin test, which may be performed by a specialist. The skin test involves having a slight prick or scratch on your back or forearm, exposing your body to the allergen. If a reaction (usually a small, raised bump) appears, it indicates you’re allergic to that allergen. In some cases, a blood test can also be used to identify allergens you react to.
How Can You Treat Fall Allergies?
Depending on what is causing your allergies, your doctor may recommend a different course of treatment. There are both prescription and over-the-counter products that can help with the inflammation and irritation symptoms of fall allergies such as:
- Steroid nasal sprays
- Nasal irrigation (Neti Pots)
- Immunotherapy (including allergy shots)
In some cases, simple behavioral changes can reduce your exposure to allergens, such as:
- Keeping doors and windows closed during times when there is a high pollen level
- Changing filters before turning on your heat for the first time
- Wear sunglasses outdoors
- Wash your hair at the end of the day to remove pollen before bed.
- Using a dehumidifier
- Wearing a mask when you rake leaves
- Using a HEPA filter in your home to remove dust and mold particles from the air
- Exercise outdoors earlier or later in the day when pollen counts are lower
From fall allergies to chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, COPD and sleep apnea, we’re here to help. Give us a call and learn how our caring staff can help you manage your symptoms and breathe easier.