The crisp air, colorful foliage, and cozy sweaters make fall a favorite for many. However, for those who struggle with seasonal allergies, fall can be an unpleasant time filled with pesky symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes. Between lingering ragweed and new mold growth, common fall allergies can put a damper on enjoying the season.
Arm yourself with knowledge of what triggers your symptoms, as well as various treatments and lifestyle adjustments to make fall more comfortable.
Understanding Common Fall Allergy Triggers
To properly manage fall allergies, it’s helpful to know exactly what allergens tend to cause issues this time of year:
- Ragweed – For many fall allergy sufferers, ragweed pollen is the main culprit behind symptoms. Ragweed season typically peaks in early to mid-fall. The pesky plant is known to release tiny, lightweight pollen grains that travel far through the air.
- Mold – Mold growth explodes in the fall thanks to dropping temperatures, rain, damp piles of leaves, and dead plant matter. Mold allergies can cause congestion, sneezing, and irritation. Be on the lookout for mold on decaying logs, mulch, and areas of lawn with heavy leaves or debris.
- Grass – Cool-season lawn grasses can continue to pollinate even in fall. So glyphosate allergies may still be bothersome, even if other grasses have died down.
- Mites – These microscopic bugs thrive in fallen leaves and areas with higher moisture. When decaying leaves and plants freeze and thaw, mites get stirred up which can increase exposure.
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Take Inventory of Your Unique Fall Allergy Symptoms
Since everyone reacts differently to seasonal allergens, take notes this fall about your specific symptoms and when they occur. Tracking details helps you identify personalized triggers and patterns. Be on the lookout for common allergy issues like :
- Runny nose, congestion, sinus pressure
- Sneezing fits
- Red, watery, or itchy eyes
- Coughing, sore throat, hoarse voice
- Itchy mouth, ears, skin or palate
- Hives or eczema flare-ups
- Headache or fatigue
Pay attention to any connections between symptoms and your activities like raking leaves, wearing certain clothing, or other exposures. These allergy symptom investigations assist you in finding targeted solutions.
Consider Both Medications and Lifestyle Adjustments
A multi-pronged approach works best to gain control over fall allergies. Explore options from medications to lifestyle changes and environmental precautions based on your needs:
- Oral antihistamines like Allegra, Zyrtec, or Claritin can help block symptoms. Nasal sprays like Flonase ease nasal congestion and drip specifically.
- Talk to your doctor about prescription medications or allergy shots if over-the-counter options still leave you suffering.
- Shower/wash hair after spending time outdoors doing yard work or playing with fallen leaves. This keeps allergens from accumulating on clothing and bedding.
- Limit outdoor time on high pollen count or mold spore days.
- Adjust ventilation by closing windows on bad allergy days and using A/C instead if possible.
- Vacuum often using a HEPA filter to remove allergens and dust.
- Limit exposure to smoke from leaf piles, grills, or fire pits.
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Other Precautionary Measures
- Wear a protective mask over your nose and mouth when doing yardwork like raking leaves or clearing brush. This blocks pollen, mold spores, and other allergens from being directly inhaled. Opt for a tight-fitting N95 mask for maximum filtration of tiny particles.
- Be diligent about changing your clothing after doing any outdoor activities with exposure to potential fall allergens. Also, wash the clothing immediately to prevent built-up particles which could transfer to skin or bedding. Washing with hot water is ideal for killing and removing allergens.
- Use a slightly damp microfiber cloth when dusting indoor surfaces instead of a dry cloth or feather duster. The microfiber traps and locks in dust and allergens instead of circulating them into the air. The bit of moisture helps grab and cling to the particles without pushing them around.
- Invest in a quality efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter air purifier to use inside your home. Keep it running in bedrooms and main living areas constantly throughout fall to proactively filter out mold, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and other irritating particles. Look for a true medical-grade HEPA filter with a high clean air delivery rate (CADR). This equipment can effectively remove up to 99.97% of concerning airborne allergens.
Don’t Let Allergies Ruin Your Autumn
Arm yourself with knowledge of common fall allergy triggers and personalized symptom investigations. Employ a combination treatment plan to get sniffling and sneezing under control. Then get back to enjoying all the wonderful things autumn has to offer like hay rides, apple orchards, and pumpkin decorating! With a strategy for navigating fall allergies, you’ll find simple pleasures no longer need to be cut short due to pesky symptoms. Breathe easy and have a happier, healthier autumn season.