Knowing the types of fall allergens (and when they strike) will keep you from confusing a cold with a common stuffy nose. Below we’ve compiled some common fall allergens and the different ways to protect yourself this season.
Arguably the biggest complaint of fall allergies is linked back to ragweed, which releases pollen when nights grow cooler, usually in August through October. 75% of people allergic to spring plants may also have reactions to ragweed.
Additionally, those who are allergic to ragweed may also have reactions to specific fruits and vegetables, such as melon, bananas and zucchini.
Mold can be found in the usual areas, like basements or bathrooms, but it can also be found in wet spots outside. Mold spores love wet spots, and piles of damp leaves can become breeding grounds for mold.
Dust mites are common in the fall and winter seasons when the air is stagnant in your home. Dust mites can also trigger sneezes and runny noses when the heater turns on the first time when it becomes colder.
As students return back to school for the fall, allergies can crop up because mold and dust mites are common in schools.
Feel Better Faster
Understanding the symptoms of allergies, including coughing, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and a runny nose can help you determine if a doctor’s visit is needed.
For runny or stuffy noses, a nasal decongestant or steroid spray can reduce inflammation and dry up the mucus in your nose. Antihistamines, like Benadryl and other allergy medications, can stop sniffling, sneezing and itching.
Allergy shots or oral tablets can also help you feel better; however, talk with your doctor on the right allergy medication for you and the potential side effects of each. Using nasal sprays for longer than directed, generally three days, can worsen congestion. If you have high blood pressure, certain allergy medications may not be right for you.
Electing to use a HEPA filter in your heating system can significantly cut down on pollen, mold and other particles from the air, providing relief within your home. During the winter seasons, you might also choose to use a dehumidifier to moisten the air between 35%-50% humidity.
Although allergies can affect you and your family year-round, being equipped with the knowledge and resources to tackle allergies before they start can mean a smooth transition into the colder season. Don’t let the trappings of common allergies stop you and your loved ones from enjoying a happy fall.
If you are suffering from allergy symptoms, contact a UAB Medical West Otolaryngologist (ENT physician) today! For information about our ENT specialists or any of our other physicians or services, visit us online at medicalwesthospital.org. If you’re looking for a new physician, call our Physician Referral Line at (205) 996-WEST.